On the day of his unceremonious acceptance into the Fencing Club he decided to call his mother under the watchful eye of Silvia, whose interest was becoming alarming. With thin fingers he pressed the digits, slightly giddy but not as ecstatic as he had imagined himself to be. The effect of Nazari's smile was wearing off and a newfound anxiety was taking up the space, painting the question What Now? over the walls of his mind. His mother answered and he almost forgot what message he had planned to convey.

"I'm in."

Dorian did not watch enough movies to know about the satirical use of the words. He didn't imagine hackers and online terrorists; jut himself, somewhere on that photograph he had seen of the boys, wearing something vintage, standing close enough to Nazari to be able to smell the divinity of him.

His mother delivered a single line: "Good."

It was disappointing. They had sent him to St. Nicholas with that goal in mind. A goal that proved to be easier than expected. No further orders were given, and Dorian felt like a soldier whose general had suddenly been killed. The need to take charge overcame him. But this was not a war. A good analogy would be walking a tightrope. He had to exercise patience. Precision.

The call ended by exchange of pleasantries, mostly to fool Silvia into believing he was more normal than the stone cold marionette she was stealing glances at. Dorian left the office area, attended his classes, smoked during lunch and late at night received a single message.

Jazz: be @ library 2morrow. 10:00.

Dorian replied, a bit too eager, adding an exclamation mark he regretted instantly. He entered his dorm, a humid, haunted room whenever Martin visited friends he had made since day one. Dorian could tell the difference after a week, but especially since the night before.

He didn't flip the light on. Operating with his senses on automatic mode, he dropped his faux leather messenger bag on the floor, removed his clothes and slipped into his silk pajamas. They were the colour of ice, and they felt to Dorian a little bit like home. He had never thought of that before, never having to settle for linens different to the ones they bought for their Manhattan home. A lot of things felt new after only a set of eight days.

And then the darkness came.

There was no image in his dream. His body changed temperature with each passing beat of his heart. A part of him wondered if he was having a seizure or a heart attack, but he could not bring himself to wake up. Blind in his own mind, he heard a terrifying sound. Identical to the sound captured by scientists that was dubbed "The sound of the universe". That ominous, ancient scream. The pressure was being sucked from the room and blown back onto Dorian's body, which felt more frail than usual.

It all stopped - the perpetual sense of being attacked with an ancient energy- when Martin opened the door, smelling of potato chips and gatorade. Dorian, in his sleep, felt thankful and safe, but he would never admit to it. Equally secret would remain the fact that ever since that night he never slept soundly again.


Dorian's alarm did not wake Martin. The blond boy had the freedom to follow his own pace without having to worry about anyone else being privy to the nervous, jittery creature he had transformed to overnight. The combination of his dreamless sleep and his appointment with the club members sent his nerve endings into overdrive. It felt like making a relationship official on school grounds, the first time you hold your crush's hand in front of students and teachers alike, or so he assumed, having never thought of such a thing before.

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