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Making it Official
The time had finally come, he'd put it off long enough, his fear of needles was outweighed by his fear of the results of the convocation that he'd attended nearly a day past. So Nox did the most life saving thing he could think to do and Nox had asked Aria for Lucas' shop, and the address, and he'd brave his fear and Aria's boyfriend again.

But Nox was still fighting his irrational fear of needles, he did everything with in his power not to have to go, telling himself that finding the families of those in the plane crash was more important. He had done so, but found that Lucas' shop was still keeping hours, even after he'd spent the past many hours licking envelopes and walking them to the farthest post drop box he knew of. Sadly it was just barely after noon when he dropped them in the box, and found himself in the Enlightened District.

Lucas' shop wasn't too far from Aria's place, which now was with in a short jaunt from where he stood. The world had played a nasty trick on him. Nox wasn't surprised really that Lucas' shop was so close to Aria's apartent, but Nox knew that it could have been anywhere, she wandered the entirety of the city by foot and metro since she got her. He still had a lot to learn.

Before he'd walked out of their warehouse apartment Aurora tucked a book with the drawing of the tattoo in his hot little hand. She knew him alot better than she let on at times. With the drawing was neatly tucked into a book and held close to his chest to keep the wind from whipping it here and there Nox walked towards Lucas' shop. Nox's thoughts drifted to his sister to keep from thinking about what he was about to endure. Nox knew Aurora would kill him if the paper came back a mess. Though she wasn't exactly sure what she was going to do still but it was still a peice of their parents that she held on to. Maybe he'd get it framed for her much like Aria's drawing.

Nox wasn't exactly looking forward to seeing Lucas, the last time hadn't ended great. Though at least it hadn't come to blows. For Aria's sake he's tone down himself. Which said a lot about what he'd do for Aria. But in the long run it was in his own self interest to stay on Aria and thus Lucas' good side. Aria could turn him in to her new handler and that would cement her loyalty and condemn his life. Nox knew Aria wouldn't do that. He hoped he knew her that well. She'd set out to find a way to not kill Ascendancy, knowing that it meant her life as Atharim was over, yet she still looked for the answer. She was far braver than he was.

The Dueling Dragons stood before him. Nox took a deep breathe and regretted doing so as the near ice crystals form in his lungs. Moscow was hell in the winter! And you thought hell was cold, Nox joked in his head. He pulled open the door and the little bell tinkled it's welcoming call. The rush of warm air bathed him, he pulled his coat closer to soak in all the warmth he could.

Nox stood in the door way and stamped the snow from his boots. He'd actually bought a pair of good rugged and warm boots for all the walking he seemed to be doing. Two men stood working on customers, he recognized Lucas. Nox opened the book and pulled out the drawing of the tattoo he wanted to splay across his left forearm. Tradition said the dragon was done in all black ink. Nox was far from traditional. He wanted it to be red and black. Screw Tradition!

Nox walked to the counter and set the paper on it and his book on top of it so when the door opened it wouldn't blow away. He'd wait till they were done. Until then he'd look around at the photos on the wall of various tattoos in 'stock' and done prior. It was an interesting bunch of work. They were clearly good at their jobs. And it was a good distraction from his fears.

Edited by Nox, Jan 14 2015, 09:35 AM.
Lucas looked up from what he was working on when he heard the ding. His didn't smile. It was that Nox guy. He looked him up and down, then over at Sergei. Sergei gave him a curious look but let it alone. "You wanting ink?"

At the man's nod he went back to the piece he was doing on Elvia's shoulder blade. Then he said, "I've still got a bit to do, so it'll be awhile. You can wait over there."
He nodded to one of the chairs. "Or look around. Get an idea if you don't have. Or you can come back in maybe 30 minutes. You're call."

Frankly, he didn't really care which the guy chose.
Nox smirked, he tried not to laugh, it was the only concession he could make without pissing the guy off more. He was about to trust his skin to him. He muttered mostly to himself. "I'll wait, it's cold out there."

The pictures on the wall were all sorts of designs, some were crap, not the work itself but the things people wanted to permanently attach to their skin. The buzz of the guns made Nox nervous. He absentmindedly rubbed his forearm as if the needle was already stabbing him. He shook his arms and dropped his hands to his sides. Maybe he should have asked Aurora to come hold his hand. He was trying to not look like a fool or an ass as he fought the urge to smack himself in the forehead with the palm of his hand. He was not a child who needed his big sister to get through this.

Nox started rubbing his forearm again and caught himself. Fuck! Nox didn't excuse himself, there was no point, they'd hear the little bell as he stepped outside. The collar of his coat he pulled up around his neck, the wind was brisk but it was better than the vibrating hum of the tattoo guns.

Nox stood just outside the door to the shop, enough room for people to walk past him, and/or get into the door to the shop. And still far enough away the slush from the street didn't splash on to his clothes, that would only make matters worse. He didn't know how long he stood there, in the cold, wishing he was else where. Wishing he hadn't pissed the man off who was going to be permanently marring his skin with the ancient symbol of the Atharim. He could only pray the man would do his job and not take out his vengeance upon him.

The door to the shop behind him opened and Nox turned to see the pretty girl Lucas had been working on walking out the door. He smiled at her and grabbed the door to let her leave without having to hold it any longer. She smiled at him and went on her way.

Nox took a deep breath and walked back into the door that held the man who was not happy he was there. Nox took off his leather coat and hung it up by the door. He wasn't about to talk off his hooded sweatshirt, he'd roll it up for Lucas to work but he wasn't going to endure cold and needles and the jarring shake of the hum of the tattoo gun.

Nox walked to the counter and pulled the paper from underneath the book and slide it towards Lucas. "I promise not to be a dick today."
He didn't smile, there was no grin, just a straight face. He was trying. He'd get this man to like him, as if his life depended on it. And it really could. He could ask Aria to ditch him, and he was pretty sure Aria would think long and hard about it before sending him packing. And that would just be shit. He wanted to keep hunting with Aria, it was well worth the work he had to do and he could be the friend she needed of him, and he would get along with Lucas just to make her life easier.

Nox tapped on the Chinese dragon eating it's own tail as it curved to make the infinity symbol. It was a pretty straight up design, mostly solid colors, no fancy patterns like Aria's had been. "I want the edges in red, he ran his fingers along the fins and areas he wanted to color. The rest black. Think it's doable?"
He was pretty sure that Lucas was more than capable of it. Right now he'd keep it business, maybe later he'd mention working with Aria on a more permanent basis. But not right now.
Lucas continued to work but stayed aware of where Nox was as he wandered the shop. The guy didn't say anything, just looked at this piece or that. Sergei caught his eye and smirked at him. He knew something was up.

Well maybe there was. The guy was good looking, tall, and had an easy way about him. And he seemed very familiar with Aria. He'd never show it to her of course, but that didn't mean he didn't get a stab of....he wasn't sure what it was. Nox just made his hackles rise and put him on edge. Of course, not the least of which was his strange manner back at the house. They guy looked to be on something or manic or...something.

Was a bad all around day. Nox had made it worse. He hoped Asha was cool. Probably was. She didn't seem like she'd add any pressure to Aria. The only upside was that Aria had been right. The news was ablaze with stories about The Butcher and his discovery, the extent of his crimes and so forth. The cops were trying to keep it quiet, but the story was just too surreal, the extent of things. Stuff was constantly being leaked to the press. So at least there was that. And Sonja and Mya had stayed at the shelter that first night. Valentin hadn't seen them since, but Lucas was sure they'd turn up.

Such a crazy world. Lucas had seen the ball of light Nox made. Curiously, after everything else, he found himself numb to it. Well, some people can do magic. If you've come to accept the universe is strange then you can't be surprised when something strange happens.

After awhile he went outside, but Lucas could still see him through the window. Cold out there. Then again, it was cold in here. The work went quickly though and soon he was finished. Elvia left and Nox came in.

Lucas snorted at his assurance and gave him a rye smile "Alright. I'll hold you to that."
He looked at the drawing Nox had brought. It wasn't bad. His eye flicked to Nox. This made his third time inking this symbol, or at least in the case of Aria, around it. Her father (the memory still made him feel shame.) Now Nox. He knew what it meant.Or at least had an idea. Nox had pretty much said so at the house.

He sighed. Such a strange place. "Yeah, I can do this. You want it now?

Edited by Lucas, Jan 15 2015, 01:15 PM.
Nox grinned at Lucas' comment about his behavior, Nox resisted his urges to do and say more. The humor was short lived as the question brought on the ridiculous terror that was his fear of needles. He confessed. "If I don't do it now, I'm not sure when I'll talk myself into coming back in."
It was too important to not do. He didn't think Lucas or his partner here would understand. And he hoped that Lucas would not ask why he was doing it if he didn't want to.

The life of the devoted Atharim, the calling was there, it had always been there. It will always be there. He wanted to hunt monsters, specifically he wanted to hunt monsters with Aria. The way she tracked them, the way she fought them, what she knew about the world outside in the shadows. She'd been trained to do nothing other than kill monsters, to kill godlings. He shuddered at the thought. He would hate to be on the wrong end of that weapon. If she came at him by surprise he was dead, he knew it without a doubt in his mind. And if it came to hand to hand well he knew he was really dead.

But Nox had learned over the past few days that whatever Aria taught him had only very specific goals in mind, the first being to keep her from hurting herself, the last being to kill her if she ever went bad bad bad. And oh so much more in between, but right now he had a lot of work to do to do that in hand to hand. It was a sad thought, but he had promised, he would kill her if necessary. He would never tell Lucas that, not ever. He would always have the advantage over Aria, he could rip her lungs from her body, or drown her standing up, he could blow her up, burn her alive. It was that she trusted him that much that made him work so hard to do it without the power.

Aurora thought he was infatuated with her, sure she was hot. But how can you fall in love with someone whom you know you've promised to do that to if they went bad. It was his job to keep humanity safe, he understood that sacrifices it was. What that symbol he was about to etch on to his skin, he knew the meaning of it. He wouldn't be nearly so fanatical as many Atharim for obvious reasons, but he was devoted to the cause in his own way.

Nox took a deep breath. "Now's as good time as any unless you've an appointment."

"Now's fine."
Seemed there wasn't going to be much small talk.

Nox sat down in the now empty chair and rolled up the sleeve of his left arm. He looked up at Lucas to ask if it was alright, he nodded and Nox grinned, they really were going to do this without talking. He sighed as sank back into the chair, the whole situation was a mess, and now he was facing a fear in the presence of a guy who probably disliked him very much for pushing shit on to his girlfriend.

There was no warning, no indication when Lucas' first put the gun to Nox's arm. Nox closed his eyes at the first stab of pain and gripped the chair with his right hand, he held himself perfectly still and said nothing until he could breathe again. It wasn't the pain he fought, he could careless about it, he'd gone through hell and back falling out that goddamned plane, there was no pain like that. The fear fought him, but he was determined to win.

His voice was shaky but he wanted a distraction, didn't matter that Lucas was not talking to him. He'd try anyway. "Aria told me about the night before we met, I'm sorry I laid shit at her door step after that."

(( Lucas modded with permission ))
Nox seemed nervous but sat down. Lucas went ahead and prepped the arm and imprinted the template. Finally, when he was ready he sat down, looked at Nox, and flipped on the gun. The guy jumped at the sound and then at the touch to his skin. He gripped the chair tightly.

Despite himself Lucas smiled. It was childish probably. But he couldn't help it. The guy was afraid. Suddenly Lucas felt bad for laughing at him, even if it was on the inside.

After all the silence- Sergei had finished up and after the client left, he went into the back offices, probably for a bite- when Nox spoke up it was surprising. The tone in his voice made it clear that he wanted to talk, to keep from focusing on what he was doing.

Come on, he thought. You're a professional. You don't have to like him to help him out. "She was really messed up. Her and the other girl. You know about that butcher guy? You know what he was gonna do?"
He accidentally pressed a little too hard and Nox yelped and glared at him. "Sorry."
He shook his head. "I don't know anything about any of this. Except that somehow she was out there and almost died. Bad. As bad as you can imagine."

Refilling his inkwell, he thought about how she was rescured, the fact that someone had killed the butcher. Could it have been Nox? Aria would have said something, surely. He'd like to think Nox wouldn't have sent her off in that condition. At the very least, that man was dead now. The weight that disappeared from him was a relief. "You know anything about her rescuer?"
Lucas mentioned the other girl that had been caught before Aria. He didn't know how much Aria had told him. There was so much Lucas didn't appear to know, yet Aria trusted him. It made Nox wonder why she was keeping things from him. It wasn't his business. He prayed that he didn't give details away Aria didn't want him to know. He'd have to ask Aria what Lucas did and did not know maybe next time.

Sudden pressure and pain jolted through his body and Nox couldn't help the sound that escaped through his mouth. He turned and glared at the man as he apologized, Nox bit back his retort, he WOULD NOT make enemies today.

Lucas had rattled on about Aria's rescuer. He had to concentrate on the sound of Lucas' voice in order to get past the fear and jerk his arm away. He hated the doctor and the medics for this very reason. Stiching him up was a pain in the ass. Thank the heavens Aurora could heal the worst of his damage in most cases. His father used to smack him over the head or drown him in alcohol before trying to do it before that. It was probably why Nox drank what he did, when he did.

Nox found his voice, he spoke quietly and carefully as if the pain was too much to bear, but he knew the pain was nothing compared to keeping himself still. "I didn't know much until Aria told me. I was in the hospital when he went on his rampage so my attention span was to the full body cast and the pretty nurses not to the news I could do nothing about."

Fear was one of those things that you could make your self power through, he was trying, but it was irrational, and his mind screamed at him. His heart rate was increasing by the minute. He focused on the conversation and not on what was going on around him. If he thought embracing the power would help he would restrain himself, however he knew that the power would only exaggerate the pain, and thus the fear would grow, it was better to not attempt it.

He focused instead on Aria's rescuer. "Her rescuer was like me. She didn't get a good look at him, he was hiding with an illusion or such. But he has her favorite sword. He said he'd give it back. I think she'd hunt him down and kill him for that sword."
He tried to laugh through the pain and fear to give Lucas some indication that he was joking, but in reality he wasn't, he knew Aria would and could do it. The only thing really keeping her from doing that was the fact that he'd saved her from a brutal situation. It was the least she could do payment.

"You know she couldn't have made it out of there if it wasn't for you. Not and keep her sanity."
He smiled, it was genuine, "Thanks for that, by the way. She's been a big help to me and my sister since our arrival in Moscow. I think things would have been much different had she not found you."

Edited by Nox, Jan 15 2015, 05:52 PM.
Lucas listened while he worked, concentrating on not slipping again. While he might not like Nox much, he wasn't much into hurting his clients. And the man did seem to be trying. He supposed he had to give him that.

So....the guy was like Nox. He remembered the light. But then, he had been worried about Aria to much care about anything else. All the chaos in the room after the previous night had pissed him off.

Now, though, he was willing to admit he was curious. And that he did like hearing that he made a difference in Aria's life. "So what is it you do? You the human light-bulb or something? Light up a room so Aria can fight?"
Probably not. But despite himself he smiled at the little joke. For some reason, tweaking at Nox seemed a natural default.

He did leave his smile to let him know that he was joking, though.
Nox grinned at Lucas' joke. He chuckled softly trying not to move, "Sounds like some awful super-hero name. Rather ironic since one of the reason you dislike me is because I laughed when not truly appropriate."
He smiled at Lucas and explained. "Ashavari had joked I was like Spiderman - bitten by a radioactive spider. And then you asked me if I Hulked out. I was called a superhero twice in one day, and I'm no hero. My humor got the best of me."
Nox shook his head and wished he hadn't. He caught sight of the tattoo taking shape, considering how much he was freaking out on the inside, it hadn't bothered him too much, but he averted his gaze.

"But to answer your question. I was born into the life like Aria, except one fact, I had parents who loved me. I can fight without my power but I'm not nearly as good as Aria. The light bulb as you called it was to impress Aria than the lot of you. She's been encouraging me to do the more mundane things, the helpful things and not just the blow shit up stuff."

He grinned and looked at Lucas. "I don't think you, nor Aria would have appreciated me throwing fireballs or erecting a stone wall in her living room. My talents lie in combat, my sisters in the support aspect, healing in general for which I'm thankful for considering I hate needles."

Lucas appeared to be handling his presence okay, for the moment. He had to tell him because Nox didn't think Aria would tell Lucas in so much words. "Aria, has been helping with my training, not too long ago she asked to make the partner arrangement we kinda stepped into permanent. That night rattled her for many reasons, she doesn't want to hunt alone. Getting captured was not something she'd expected, and not having backup hurt. And since we are more alike than not, she asked me. Our secrets can remain safe with in an organization who hunts us specifically. I have agreed."
He looked at Lucas again, and appraised him with a sigh he said, "But I suspect if you have issue with that, all you have to do is tell her, and I'll be out the door pretty quickly."
Nox turned his attention back to the wall. Rejection was not something Nox enjoyed, but he'd deal.
Lucas listened as he worked, as he did for his other clients. But in this case he paid more attention. Nox seemed to see everything as a joke. Or at least thats how he protected himself from the craziness of their world.

But what really stuck out was his comment about the three of them being hunted by the organization they worked for. Not that he was indifferent to Nox or his sister, but mostly he was worried about Aria.

He stopped, gun in mid-air. "Why would you work for an organization that would hunt you down? Why mark yourself as one of them?"
For him it came down to loyalty. But that was a two way street. He didn't get it.

So why would Aria work for them?

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