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Into The Fire
The day was shitty. The afternoon wasn't any better, but Nox was actually looking forward to going hunting. It wasn't a typical hunt. And it wasn't with his typical partner. It hurt that Aria had just left with all the shit that had just happened. Nox tried not to dwell on it. But she had been right not to ask him to come. She was going to assassinate a man because of an order. And then she was going to hunt down Giordano. He should stop her. He knew that. But neither of these kills were about him. You did what your bosses tell you to do. And Atharim law already had Giordano marked for death. Why not his own daughter to kill him. But it still hurt. He was a pile of sorrow and pain.

HQ had been easy enough to find a place to bunk down with. He hadn't' explained what had happened and as soon as he got things situated in his head, he'd find a new place to stay. Or maybe he'd go back to the States for a while. Home sounded real good about now. Not that he had a place to go home to there either. But it was what he was used to.

8PM rolled around and Nox walked his way back to the Red Light District and waited outside what had been his former home. It was still cordoned off and the keep out signs were now plastered everywhere. Eventually they could sift through things.

Nox waited for Ivan to show up. He wasn't exactly friend, but he wasn't exactly foe either. Nox wasn't sure how he was going to do as a so-called teacher, but he could help where he he thought he could. He was hardly an expert on anything.

In the darkness Nox heard a scratching and then soft footstep coming his direction. Nox embraced the power and the world grew clear. The dim light gave way to clarity and he saw the mangy little puppy padding his way towards him. Nox grinned helplessly. The little guy was only slightly worse for wear, his tail was singed and his coat was a dusty grey from all the dirt that had been scattered in the area. "Well look at you. Aren't you a survivor."
The pup yipped at him and jumped up against his leg. Nox knelt down and scratched the little guy's neck. "You need a name if I'm going to keep you."

Nox thought about it. The little guy popped into his live in the middle of a shit storm and survived it with him. He was tough little puppy. "You like Nova."
A nuclear explosion in the sky could only out do the shit storm he'd bee living through. The little guy yipped and licked at Nox and he grinned. He doubted the dog understood what he said but it at least gave him some sense of hope.

Nox stood up and Nova danced around his feet. "I don't have anything to eat right now and we got things to do. You might as well come along and learn what it is we do."
The rest of the day was mostly filling out paperwork, making and taking statements, and so on. Which meant that he and Vega didn't get a chance to talk. When there seemed a lull and a brief interlude, Vega would already be who-knows-where. Maybe the guy was avoiding him. Or maybe he just had a lot to do. So Ivan filed the whole situation away.

Volodin was dead. At least, a body had been found, burned beyond recognition. Not that that would have been possible even without the fire, what with debris and an entire building collapsing on him. Hard to ID a pile of meat. Still, the remains were sent off for analysis. They'd find DNA somewhere. And Volodin had kin. If it was him, they'd know it soon enough.

Ivan didn't feel bad about any of that. The more he'd read of the guy, the more obvious the guy was trouble and either extremely lucky. Or it was the power that kept him alive. No. Be fair. The guy was slippery and smart, he'd give him that. Smart enough, anyway, to have risen quickly from douchy little gopnik (god, he hated them) to lieutenant and personal friend of Roman Mordvinov. His power probably helped there. Latest run-in with the cops was when a guy from another family keeled over next to him in the middle of a coffee shop. The coroner had ruled it had been a heart attack. But the guy was from the Kolomov's and a recent loss of leadership in yet another crime family had reignited old feuds. The guy's death was suspicious but nothing could be proven. Except now they knew Volodin had the power. Ivan thought he could probably duplicate the effect himself using air.

Volodin had enemies galore, he was sure. Ones he made the job as one of the Mordvinovs; ones he'd made as a kid; and probably a butt-load he'd made just being his cheery self. Something clicked. Probably Mordvinov's too, there at the end. They probably weren't real happy with all the increased attention and linkage to terrorism and fear that already had the city in its grip.

Is that what Vega is hiding? What Nox and the girl were talking about? He'd been feeling charitable towards Vega, for all how their first meeting went. But if Vega was on the payroll of the Mordvinovs- or any of them- Ivan would find out. He wouldn't tolerate disloyalty. And their team was new enough that that kind of thing could really do some damage. Not saying the guy was dirty. But he'd find out for sure. Nox might even help- he clearly knew more of what was going on. Nox might turn out to be even more useful than he realized. And Ivan wanted his help. Andlain and his stunts were only getting worse and it was very likely gonna be hard to put him down unless they sneaked up on him. Or used some high tech weapons. He would have to ask the Cap or LT about that soon. Idly, he wondered how whoever'd killed Volodin had gotten the drop on him. it was a mystery.

He didn't get out of the precinct until 7:30 and scarfed down some food as he drove back to the rendezvous to meet Nox. He got there a bit after 8 and the guy was already there, waiting. Strangely, he had a puppy with him. Cute little thing. "So this our hunting dog?"

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Nov 4 2015, 01:14 PM.
Nova stopped and started to growl as Ivan walked up. The little dog's hair stood on end and Nox laughed at Ivan's comment. "No. At least not yet. He was in the warehouse when I came home. The last present so to speak from my sister before she died. I'm surprised he's here. He was inside when I left this morning."
Nox didn't expand on it. Ivan knew all to well what had happened and it wasn't something Nox really wanted to talk about.

"Let's get going."
He didn't wait for Ivan to agree. Nova sprinted off ahead of him then turned around and ran back to him even as Nox was walking towards the pup. "Don't burn up all that energy."
Nox pulled the power around him. "I don't know how to teach you to break whatever is holding you back except to make you do it. So for now just watch, we shouldn't encounter anything dangerous."
Nox glanced over at Ivan with a grin. "Until we do."

"Practice is all I can tell you. And there is plenty in the tunnels to practice on. I don't like going down here with out my gear, but I didn't think to get new ones before I left."

Nox picked up a handful of grit and pebbles and debris from his former home. All that hard work and now he had to replicate it all over again. Once inside the tunnels Nox formed a glowing ball of fire and air and sent it out ahead of him. It made an eerie yellow glow as they walked deeper in that main tunnel here. They could get lost in here easily without a map. Nox was not looking forward to this. He pulled out his phone and pulled up the maps he had. If they stayed topside they'd get decent signal, but if they went down to actually fight something they'd have some problems. But the cache would help - a little.

Nox asked, "You nervous or afraid at all?"

"Nope. But when we get down below I'm sure I'll feel it. Not exactly a fan of being underground,"
he said with a laugh.

With Ivan's answer Nox grinned. "Going farther defeats the purpose then."
Nox stopped and abruptly turned towards Ivan with a grin. "You are going to have to trust me."
But Nox didn't give Ivan a chance to respond before he slowly wove a blast of air and threw it in Ivan's direction.
Ivan remembered his last visit into the tunnels with Xena. And the time before. There were some nasty surprises down here. Strangely, he felt anticipation and excitement at the thought of squaring off against one of them. Somehow, it felt right to kill creatures like that that would prey on people in his city.

Yeah, but if you're excited you're not exactly ready to take them on, now are you? The thought quashed his mood a bit. Without that tension the power would remain unreachable.

He answered Nox's question with bravado. He really did hope that the deeper they got, the more that feeling of claustrophobia would return. At least he'd be able to practice his weaves even if he didn't break whatever was blocking him.

Suddenly Nox turned on him with a grin. " "Going farther defeats the purpose then. You are going to have to trust me."
Ivan stopped, feeling puzzled. It was such an odd thing to say and so out of the blue that for a moment he couldn't figure out what he was talking about.

In that very moment, the power sprang up around Nox and he weaved something and threw it at him. Ivan had no time to see what he was doing. Anger filled him. Was this his plan? Was he supposed to take Ivan out? He'd been right. Vega was dirty. And Nox was working with him. The betrayal hit him harder than the blast of air and he hit the wall. The anger doubled and tripled. Nox might be stronger and more skilled but Ivan would be damned if the guy got away without a fight. And if he could get to the guy physically, then it'd be all over. He could break Nox easily, scrawny as he was in comparison. Still....

He stood quickly and ran at Nox even as he reached for the power that hovered in the distance, strained for it as he covered the distance. Nothing. It wouldn't come to him. His anger became rage at the fickle ass-backward nature of the whole thing. What a freaking joke this is, he thought as he ground his teeth and honed in on the traitor.
Well Nox had succeeded at one thing - pissing the cop off. Thankfully he didn't draw his gun Nox wasn't exactly sure if he could react in time for that, much less if a wall of air would stop a bullet. Earth could. But there was little time to do two things at once.

At least the man had energy, not the right kind of energy and he looked like he wanted to hurt him. Not that Nox really blamed Ivan, he had done a cheap thing. But you had to learn one way or another. Nox threw up a wall of air between him and Ivan as the man hurled his body at his opponent.

Nox quickly tied the weave off and started working on a complex weave he and his sister had devised. He'd used it before in battle, it came quickly and was ready before Ivan even got to the wall of air. Nox clapped his hands and sent a concussive sound wave at Ivan. It was one of Nox's favorite weaves - a unidirectional thunderclap.

As the weave finished Nox was preparing another blast of air to send at Ivan. He would continue to keep Ivan at bay with air and water, Nox hoped that the wall of air didn't take too much damage as it decayed. Nox didn't exactly want to get hurt and had no real intentions of hurting Ivan. Though Ivan didn't seem to know that and Nox grinned. This was going to be fun.
Ivan was up to full speed with his head down and shoulder angled like a battering ram. Suddenly a wall of air sprang into being and Ivan was unable to slow down before slamming into it. He bounced back stunned, the air driven from the force of the blow. If anything it made him angrier and he shook his head like a bull.

He felt the heat of the power closer and reached out to it through gritted teeth, straining against the distance and felt it barely, as if fingers just brushing something. Just then a thunderclap exploded and his ears rang out from the deafening blast.

And Nox stood behind that wall smirking. Oh yeah, Ivan wanted to beat that grin away, to lift the punk and physically hurl him into the wall. He reached for the power again, strained for it and this time he held a single thread.

He felt himself smile as he held onto that thread with his one "finger", curling it until he could get a good grasp on that thread.

And then he tightened that grip and strained and pulled, feeling as if every muscle was tight, as if he were curling 200 pounds, felt the effort and resistance but he did not stop and then finally, finally there was movement as he ripped at that stupid fucking power with all his strength, dragged it kicking and scream to him, full hands around its throat forcing into submission-

And the power flooded him and his eyes widened. He heard himself growl in the back of his throat and his face felt like death. Wielding a club of air he slammed it against the wall, again and again. Nox wasn't going to get away from him.
A menacing presence erupted in front of him and Nox laughed. The man looked like he wanted to kill him, but he'd accomplished exactly what he'd set out to do. Now there was one problem - Ivan wanted to hurt him. Not good.

Nox watched as the wall took damage. He continued to smile despite the fact his life was now in danger. Defense was his best option now, but Nox wasn't sure Ivan would stop. And he really didn't want to go all out with a cop, or someone so new to the idea of holding the power so easily.

But he was who he was and he couldn't help with smart ass comments. "Like a bull in a china shop."
He knew his mouth would get him into trouble as he wove a sheet of ice underneath Ivan's feet. "Chill out and take a second to think about what just happened."
The stupid smile was still on Nox's face even as Ivan battered at the wall. Cracks spidered-webbed their way across the surface and Ivan felt his smile become feral.

And yet the guy didn't try to defend himself or stop him, at least at first. He did make some stupid comment though. And then Nox wove again, water and air, and suddenly Ivan slipped on the ice and fell on his back and hitting his head, dazing him, the rough broken surface of the tunnels digging into him.

Nox's words washed over him along with the pain. "Chill out and take a second to think about what just happened."
Ivan shook his head and was about to get up when what the guy said finally clicked.

And he realized the held the power and wasn't scared. And with that his anger started to drain away. For a moment, Ivan wondered if he'd replaced one stupid need with another- great, now I have to get angry to use the power.- but no. He was laying on the ground, the cold ice water seeping through his clothes and to his skin, mostly feeling confused and stunned. And the power stayed with him.

He got to his feet quickly, wiping off what moisture he could get to on the back of his pants, watching Nox closely, ready. But no longer did he feel driven and angry. Wary, maybe. He still wasn't sure Nox wouldn't try to kill him. At the same time, it was obvious.

Ivan could use the power unhindered now. And despite himself he laughed. And the power stayed with him. He laughed again, longer and louder. And still, the power stayed with him.

And he saluted Nox with his head, nodding sheepishly. "Well ok then."
and he laughed again. Already, this night had been worth it.
The fall seemed to quell Ivan's fury. He didn't look like he was going to kill him anymore and Nox was grateful for that. Killing a cop would put him in no better position than it had Bas. Poor Bas. Fucking Atharim!

Nox sighed at his thoughts and tried to embrace Ivan's success. Nox waited for him to at least get a hold of himself. "Now let it go and try again."

Nox really didn't wait for him to follow instructions, he either did or didn't it really didn't matter. He was instructor and Ivan either trusted him or not.

Nox started weaving another ball of light in front of him. He wove each thread slowly so Ivan saw how each element went into the weave. It wasn't complicated but it was one of the few combat useless devices he knew. Seeing however was always a good thing and it beat the flickering of a flame.

Nox held the ball of light in one hand and concentrated on trying to bring the whip of fire up. Three attempts later Nox tied the globe of light off, again showing Ivan how to do it. Slow and steady. He didn't explain. He didn't know how to explain why something worked, he just did what he did - he wasn't a teacher.

Nox didn't weave the whip slowly. Ivan didn't know how to use one and a whip unlike a staff or sword would only hurt you in the long run until you learned how to use it. He had a few scars from self inflicted damage when he was learning. Nox held the flaming coil in his hand and grinned at Ivan. "Let's go hunting."

Nova danced around his feet. Where had he gone when things happened with Ivan? He hoped he didn't lose Nova down here. Nox wasn't sure he could handle another loss.

Edited by Nox, Nov 6 2015, 08:42 AM.
In all the other times Ivan had used the power, it had been in tense and dangerous situations. He noticed the enhanced senses but they were pragmatic; useful things in a fight, certainly not something he dwelt on or enjoyed for its on sake.

Now he was laughing and cheery at feeling the power flow through him and now he could sense everything around him- felt one with the earth below and above him, could almost feel the labyrinth tunnels emanating out from this place- and felt a sense of pleasure and joy he had not known.

And of course the other thing that came with enhanced senses was the wonderful smell they seemed to have discovered. Waste and garbage and rot all combined with the heat from vents, fermenting it all into an odor that should probably have been bottled and used by anti-terrorist squads to force the bad guys out, eyes all watering and coughing and puking and oh-god, please let me out of here, take me away from this smell.

He swallowed and pushed the bile down, breathing deeply through his mouth. It still was bad but not as bad as it had been. It was strange to be so ecstatic and euphoric and yet to be physically sickened at the same time.

He was almost grateful for Nox's suggestion. He let the power go and felt things go back to normal. After the overload of sensations, everything seemed drab and dull- and this being a tunnel, you better believe that was saying something.

Still, once he'd let the power go he tentatively reached out again toward that light just on the horizon. It took a moment, but it came to him, filling him with life again. He was more prepared this time and the sensations were something he could handle. He wasn't so overwhelmed. He'd have to practice that, though. He didn't want there to be any pause when he needed the power and reached for it.

And now Nox began to weave air and fire and even earth in a certain pattern. He could see how the way the threads were weaved- their order and shape- affected the whole. In a moment, he stood there with a glowing ball of light. If he had tried that, he woulda just used fire alone to make a standing flame. Maybe some air. That sounded right. He tried out the weave and another ball sprang into being above his hand. This was far more elegant. It glowed but was not hot to the touch. No chance of it setting anything on fire.

Nox did something to his weave, some sort of 'tying' motion and suddenly the ball was there, floating of its own accord, no longer connected to Nox. Ivan tried it. Same thing. Now Ivan could do something else with the power.

He thought back to those arrows Volodin had launched and now he understood how they worked. Little standalone weaves crafted, launched and tied off. Hundreds. Obviously the guy had practiced. Ivan would have to do the same.

Nox then wove again and a braided tail of fire seemed to grow into a whip. Ivan laughed. "Heh...Didn't know you were into S & M."
Course, being whipped with that thing would probably leave serious burns- if not outright cuts. It was an effective weapon, if you know how to do that.

Ivan did not. He wasn't about to risk an eye or anything trying something like that. Still, he did want to try something. Not like he knew how to use a sword or anything. Oh he and his brother had played pirates and jedi and stuff with the cardboard rolls that wrapping paper came wound in. And got hit- painlessly, of course- on the fingers a lot. He wasn't trained in hand-to-hand combat with weapons. With his fists, yes. He'd had lots of training there, both before and after becoming a cop.

He thought for a moment and tried to weave fire and air- and then some earth, after a thought- into something like fists that extended out. It was like he had a much wider reach now. He saw how he could anchor them to his forearms. Well, that was how he thought of it, anyway. He hesitantly tried to shadow box with them and was satisfied with the result. They moved naturally.

On impulse he swung at one of the tunnel walls and pieces of brink and cement flew away, leaving a rough gouge. He was smiling now, big ole wide grin. Oh yeah, this would be fun.

He looked at Nox, puppy dancing around his legs. "I'm ready, man."

Now they would see what they would see.

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