Never free, Never me

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Nick blocked his view of Wren and Lucah, towering above them in the closet's threshold. Az wondered how Lucah hadn't seen Nick move, but there he was. Lucah talked to Wren, leaving as to defend Cy, against Nick.

"Little Boy Blue in the closet again." Throaty laughter erupted from Nick's Vessel and Cy tightened his grip around Az's waist. "You stole my life."

Nick tossed the Athame from one hand to the other and shoved it into Az's chest.

Tendrils of ice enveloped his heart, pushing beyond his flesh and straight Cy. The freezing touch shot down his spine, settling into his bones, and tugged at his Essence. Sheetrock shimmered into black around them, each brick defined by lines of gray mortar. Pairs of glowing white bore into his Vessel causing his nerves to skitter in a strange dance with no rhyme to the steps.

"Nick," Az rasped out, clenching his jaw to stop his teeth from chattering.

"Stupid spells," Nick continued as if Az hadn't spoken. "Raven had to be so smart. We had a plan, Cyan. One of you, one of me. Lucah got the Vessel but the majick wouldn't wear it. Let's see how the boys of Blue handle My Menagerie."

Nick backed away as light blurred his edges into a gray day.

The  Athame kissed Az's palm and tugged the colors. Different brick surrounded him and the odor of rotting food breached his senses. Cy staggered away from him, pressing his back to Az's.

Wind whipped through the alleyway and the eyeshine formed heads, limbs, and torsos. The mortar cracked, and they pulled themselves from the brickwork, stepping onto solid pavement, raining ash instead of light gray powder.

Men Az had called friend now circled them as enemies. Last Spirits should have been the only portal home, but someone had changed the game. Fodder thrown into a battle between demigod and god wielded Elements against Source majick.

Az dodged a bat whistling towards his head and Cy staggered behind him. One quick glance back and light glinted off Justice's sword. Cy delivered blows to decapitate and sever; the titanium humming strains of Metallica's Unforgiven.

His watchful, soft-spoken twin fought with the harnessed fury of a Spartan. Az only had a six-inch long dagger, and it didn't sing for him. It snatched him places, interrupted his life, and left him stranded when the job was done.

"Nice!" Shiloh yelled and Az wondered when the backup had arrived.

Az stabbed the man in front of him and another slammed a bat against his temple. He jerked his blade free when the Vessel ashed and another man took his place. Bat poised to strike, but the blow did not come. Blue fire spread from the man; inside out and incense joined the odor of day-old cabbage.

"Didn't think we'd leave you to fight alone, did you?" Shiloh grinned and Kansas stood beside him glaring at the remnants of dead men. Kansas had his own blade, and he kissed the ruby in the hilt before all three weapons shimmered home.

Az grabbed Cy before he fell and Kansas patted his pockets. "Wheels and rails, brother. I'm tapped."

"Got it covered," Shi said, lifting his shirt. Gray duct tape covered his ribs.

Kansas whistled. "That's gonna hurt like a bitch."

Az examined Cy's throat. "How did you find us?"

"Added a little extra to the vial yesterday." Kansas shrugged. He ripped the tape and Shiloh winced, but the baggie fell to the pavement.

"Good gods! Get it off me!" Shi held his shirt up and Kansas flinched for him as he tore the rest of it away. "FUCK!"

Kansas pierced his index finger, dabbing blood to the forming welts. "So, Raven supplied the go juice, and I put a drop of me in it. I'm not bound by the contract, but dad is."

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