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The day was a hot one, not a single cloud in the sky to mar the sunshine with only a slight breeze that made the temperatures manageable and yet the park was packed. The wide concrete walkways the central city park boasted flooded each day with an army of food trucks, the city council of Evermore set up a host of umbrella-covered tables for people along with trash cans and entertainment and labeled the efforts in the name of conservation and community outreach. An ingenious plan considering the park was located smack dab in the middle of downtown Evermore where all the business and commerce was located, a single monstrous location of greenery surrounded by brick and mortar and steel on all sides. Each day the trucks came, the crowds swelled, despite the sun and heat drawn by the smell of good food and fresh air which gave Knox the perfect cover to follow his quarry.
The Dhampir had only been in the Colorado city for a little over a week, just long enough to contact his local leader and secure a room at the faction house until he could find an apartment or townhouse of his own. The first thing he wanted to do was locate her, to see her with his own eyes. Just once. At least that was what he had told himself to begin with. Based upon the information he had been able to gather she worked at a large company that operated downtown in one of the high rises. She was listed as personal assistant to the CEO which was surprising since her work experience as far as he could glean was zilch and the guy she was working for was loaded. The arrangement seemed fishy, his instincts screamed that something was off and he wanted to know what was up.
Jonathan Bradford, Owner, and CEO of Seraph Enterprises appeared to be everything that an upstanding entrepreneur should be. A credit to the male species he had graduated top of his class and had only gone up from there. Never done anything to mar his perfect reputation, never even gotten so much as a blasted parking ticket. The guy was as upstanding as they came which made Knox even more suspicious if the guy seemed perfect it meant he was probably hiding a slew of skeletons in his closet and had gotten really good at hiding them. So what was he doing with an orphan with no prior work experience as his personal assistant?
This was the third day in a row the inner working staff of Seraph Industries had come out for lunch at the food trucks, using the black AmEx cards of the company to do so. Today however the CEO himself wasn’t present which meant that the Dhampir could get a little closer to the blonde as she grabbed her food and took a stroll around the promenade. She didn’t like the crowds, country living had at least given her that quirk and as soon as she had her food she started walking away from the crush of bodies and noise. Hands in his pockets Knox watched everything, from the way she walked to how she watched everything around her. He had only found a single picture of the woman who had been their mother and it had been in black and white, seeing Siobhan now he could see some family resemblance in their looks and posture. They held themselves the same way, walked with the same stride, and when she turned just the right way they had the same deep blue steel in the depths of their eyes.
Sighing Knox told himself he needed to break away, to turn and leave before he was spotted but the voice inside his head was small in comparison to the protective instincts that roared inside of his chest. His bow was glowing, slung over his back like it always was it glowed constantly when he neared her which made him wonder what she was. He itched to asked her dozens of questions that swirled around in his mind and even more so to nock an arrow and point it in her boss’s face and ask him to spill all his dirty ass secrets. To free his sister from whatever snare held her to his sleazy side and perhaps build a relationship with the small family he had left. Heaving a sigh Knox blinked and realized a little too late that he had followed the little blonde into the mouth of an alleyway.
Siobhan had grown into a better Nephilim since Jon took her under his wing. Since Dominic had pushed the young girl away staying in his wolf form for weeks on end, all signs pointed to the fact the Therian wanted nothing to do with her. She had no idea the deal he made with Lucifer to keep her safe. To keep her from the dark diviners clutches, if she had known she would have never let him protect her the way he was, she would have never let him get hexed. Yet here the young naive Nephilim was, living in the city with a slight bitterness in her mouth from it. Jon came in and offered her the practice she needed for her Nephilim skills. Giving her a job so she was able to keep a roof over her head and food in her mouth, while training her with her abilities after hours even hand to hand combat was being mixed in. It gave Siobhan a boost of confidence that maybe she could do the Nephilim thing after all, even though she wasn’t breed into it.
This week was different though there was a shift in the area, it seemed to be unseasonably hot, though Siobhan enjoyed the warmer weather it meant she could wear brighter colors to work. Jon had to take a meeting around lunchtime so he gave her the card and told her to take a long lunch. Though she was already planning to use half of lunch to run some errands for him. She was always going out of her way to make his life a little easier, he seemed to be even more stressed out lately then she felt he should be. As Siobhan made her way to the food trucks her eyes scanned the area as they did often. There he was once again, the man she had seen the last two days, yet closer this time. She felt the Paranoia grow inside her chest as she looked back paying for her lunch and tucking the card back in her bag. She had been stalked more times than she could count on her hand.
Difference this time was that she was ready to fight, or at least she thought so. Jon would disapprove of what she was about to do. She took her food thanking the cook as she began to part from the crowd. Tossing her head back to make sure he was watching her before she continued down the path, instead of turning to walk down in front of the water she turned to the path that connected to a row of shops. She ducked into the alleyway and then moved dropping her bag as she placed her food on it and jumped up, her wings ripping from the slits in her back as she brought herself up and over behind him as he stopped in the mouth of the alleyway. Siobhan eyes swirled purple as she let her wings folded in and took hold of the man. She didn’t give a moment to speak as she started to make him feel like he couldn’t breath.
She pushed him to the wall, her eyes glowing a bright purple. “If you where smart you wouldn’t attack me the moment you can breath again. I want to know who you are and why you have been following me this week? Who do you work for? Or are you after Jon?” She slowly let his mind go but kept space between them to make an escape if she needed too. Her eyes never leaving him as she stood there fully releasing his mind “Start talking!” she said in an authoritative tone that Jon had taught her, the only thing she wished she had right now was her bow and arrows, though they were not considered appropriate work attire. She could still feel the nervous wave that filled her as she waited holding her breath for answers from the man in front of her. Oh Jon was so going to bring her back just to kill her if she ended up getting herself murdered.
There was a time and place when emotions came in handy when they could be used to keep the fires burning deep inside of one's soul. They took could be brought to bear when fatigue was making your limbs shake and eyelids were heavy, with a single memory a good shot of hatred or fear could shoot enough energy into a warrior's veins and mean the difference between life and death. Just like everything though emotions had a time and place, they needed to be put away and shut uptight when the time was right. Given the current circumstances Knox needed his wits about him and instead, he had let his anger and rage seethe below the surface, making him sloppy.
With his face pressed against the grimy stone walls, he measured the strength his sister put into the hold, with the efficiency and observation of a warrior. Her technique was sloppy yet only so from inexperience, with more practice she would be a force to be reckoned with. Despite the novice touch her voice was commanding and steady which impressed the male more than anything else, that and the loyalty she showed to her scumbag employer while questioning him. They both knew he couldn't answer if he wanted to, even if it was just a mind trick she had his airflow restricted and thus his ability to answer her as well. Thankfully his years of training kept him from panicking, he'd served with Nephilim and had been subjected to their mind tricks more times than he could count.
The moment she let him go, he could sense that she had put some distance between them not enough to amount to much but enough that he could make a move. He shifted just a bit, kicking his foot back to catch hers and pivoted to catch her off balance. Before she could hit the ground he grabbed her arm and held her a few inches off the ground, whipping out one of his runic arrows that glowed an arctic blue pointing the pointy end towards her but not in a very threatening fashion. It was more to show her that he wasn't entirely human, "Relax there Xena, I'm a friendly." To prove it to her he pulled her back into a standing position and placed the arrow back in the quiver he had resting against his back, holding his palms towards her in the universal symbol of 'I come in peace.'
Taking a step back from her so that they both had come space the Dhampir put his hand in his pockets, giving her a small grin. "My name is Knox Xavier. I don't work for anyone and I'm certainly not looking for that asshole boss of yours. At least not yet." He muttered the last with a little growl, taking his wallet put he took out a picture and held it put to her, showing her the snapshot of their mother. "I came looking for you. My sister."
Siobhan heart was pounding in her chest, this wasn’t the first time she was in an alleyway with a stranger but this was the first time she was taking charge instead of being snuck up on. She used the strength the Nephilim side of her blessed her with along with her mental power to take his breath away. She was actually pretty proud of how strong her voice sounded. Jon was doing well teaching her, even if he was way more advanced, and Sio was sure he was holding back. Stepping back to place space between her and the stranger gave her anxiety. She would be giving up control of the situation, and hoping for the best.
When he kicked her leg out from under her, the familiar panic set in. Knowing that no one would be looking for her for the next hour. Yet as he caught her, her eyes went to the runic Arrow watching it glow. She had seen that once before, the runic glows of weapons. “Dhampir?” she question slightly allowed the confused look clear on her face. From what Clarissa had told her, Dhampir where light species as well. Her eyes rested on his as she tilted her head to the side. “My name isn’t Xena.” She just stated as she was back on her feet rubbing her nervous palms against her skirt. “If you are so friendly why have you been following me for the last few days.” She said crossing her arms one over the other.
Siobhan narrowed her gaze slightly at the man as he began to speak, she opened her mouth to get defensive about her boss. Though the moment he pulled out the photo of a woman she didn’t know but who looked a lot like Siobhan herself. She found herself speechless. She moved closer and took hold of the photo and looked at it for a long moment. “Your sister?” she finally asked looking to him, she was sure he was older than her. That caused her mind to wonder why her mother kept him and not her. She handed the photo back to him. “I’m sorry Knox, but my name is Siobhan, Siobhan Leslie, not Xena. I can’t be your sister.”
She felt the tears stinging her eyes, she sometimes really hated being an overly emotional species. “Cause if I was, and our mother kept you and not me. That would mean she didn’t give me up because she loved me like Sophia told me.” She felt a tear roll down her face, “you have the wrong girl.” She took a step back from him and turned to exit the Alley way to re-enter the building she worked in before pausing. “Why did you say, Not yet when it came to Jon?” She looked over her shoulder to look at him again, she knew she should have left him in the alleyway. Nothing was making sense in her life lately, but she felt a calm around him she couldn’t explain.
Knox nodded when she properly identified what he was, telling him that whoever had been training her and giving her information had been doing a thorough job. She hadn't hesitated in the least and had even seemed to relax a bit once his species had registered. Dhampir's were protectors by nature, most took to occupations that allowed them to use the unique abilities inherent to their natures and used them to keep the less fortunate safe. That wasn't the rule for all, of course, every species had their rotten eggs but for the most part, his kind were a good people. The male couldn't help but snort out a little laugh, though he wasn't given a chance to correct her as she fired another question at him. "I needed to make sure it was you. Then once I was sure I wanted to learn your habits and confirm some of my...suspicions."
Knox's lips pursed on the last word as he thought about his sister's employer and how his meeting with that Nephilim was going to go. Neph's were usually stronger and faster than Dhampir's but when you had served with them a Male picked up some tricks. Shaking his head he pushed that problem away for another day and focused on the blonde, watching as she looked over the picture of their mother. He didn't see any spark of recognition which wasn't a surprise, Wanda hadn't exactly stuck around to establish a relationship with any of her children. Once again he nodded when she said sister, giving her time to work it out in her mind but then it all went sideways. She mentioned Xena again which had been a joke that she obviously hadn't got and then she went on to break his heart.
Reaching up with one of his hand he ran a palm over his face before fixing his cobalt hues on her. "She didn't." He couldn't keep his eyes on her instead of looking down at the ground, "She didn't keep me either. I only found out about you when my aunt and uncle died a couple months ago. I wanted to find you, the only family I have left." His voice trailed off and he sounded slightly defeated and a little bit tired, a sad smile turning up the corners of his mouth.
Cleaning his throat the Dhampir shrugged, making a face as he considered her last inquiry. "I'm going to have a chat with your boss. Whatever arrangement he has with you better be legit and on the level or I'm going to break his legs." He didn't finish the rest if he found out the scumbag was trading sexual favors Knox was going to make sure the Nephilim would be eating out of straw for the rest of his life. No one took advantage of his sister, even if she didn't want to admit they were related. No one messed with Knox's family, she was all he had left.
Siobhan looked at him with her blue hues for a moment as she raised a brow to him. “Learn my habits? You do realize how creepy that sounds right?” She said as she moved from one foot to the other. “What suspicions was that?” she shifted from one foot to the other for a moment. Looking at the photo of Isabo for a long moment was nothing for her. She could see some features that would match her own but there was also the point that she looked like many blonde haired, blue eyed white woman. “I’m sorry I wish I knew this woman but I don’t she repeated again as her gaze moved down out of her habit of wanting to make herself small. She hated crying in front of others and showing weakness.
As his hand comes to her cheek she flinched slightly looking back up to him but didn’t move away. Something about it was comforting. Her eyes searched his for a moment as he spoke as if looking for the truth behind his words. She could feel the genuineness in his tone. “I’m sorry you lost your aunt and uncle.” she said softly and felt her lip trembling her heart hurt at the thought that a family member was out there looking for her. “I’m sorry our mother didn’t keep you either.” she let out a soft breath as the tears fell over her eyes. She moved in and gave him a hug feeling that brotherly bond she missed deeply with the lost of stephen.
Pulling back as he cleared his throat she raised her hand to wipe away the tears on her face. “Sorry I had a brother an adopted one and he past not long ago so…” she trailed off and then focused on him for a moment as he began to speak on Jon. “Now wait a minute you are not going to go talk with my boss. What do you mean whatever arrangement we have? He is my boss I get him coffee and food and set up his meetings. He pays me money like any normal job. He also has gone out of his way to help me nephilim train. He is a good guy. How about we don’t go in and trying to start a war because frankly I doubt you could last.”
She gave a shrug as she cleaned off her skirt from where she had fallen back on the ground.”Now if you would like to be apart of my life. I would love nothing more than that. I have a small rental Jon helped me get you can meet me there tonight after I get off work and we can talk more.” She said softly as she reached over picking up her bag. “What do you say?” she asked as she reached around in her bag for her phone.
Maybe learning her habits was a bit creepy but when you had been in the occupation he had chosen taking risks wasn’t in a person's nature. Shrugging unapologetically the male didn’t much care if he looked like a creep in the pursuit of learning about his sister, he had needed to be sure she was an honest person. While he wanted to find his family had he found a woman of ill repute or evil reputation Knox wouldn’t have hesitated to walk away. He didn’t need that kind of negativity in his life, nor did he want that kind of heat. Letting out a long-held sigh as she mentioned not knowing their mother he couldn’t help but shake his head.
“Neither of us knew her but we both recognize her. In ourselves. The blue eyes, the features, the way she held herself.” Ignoring her question about his suspicions Knox took the photo back and tucked it inside his jacket pocket. “Look in the mirror and you will find her.” There was no doubt that both of them were her children, even now he could see some of himself in the young blonde that stood across from him. At the moment she looked small and unsure as if she were fighting tears. It made his heartbreak that he had caused her such distress but finding her had been his only saving grace since the death of his parents.
He didn’t react to her apology, he’d come to terms with his situation a long time ago and though some very small part of him ached for his birth mother the memories he had of his home far outreached that pain. His eyebrows shot up into his hairline and his thoughts were detracted as she openly fed him information about her boss, and what he noted was zero hesitation. None of the facts that she stated were said with any hidden undertone or a possibility of hiding other little tidbits. Which made him relax quite a bit. Though he didn’t quite understand what the man called Jon was getting out of the arrangement it looked as if he were genuinely taking care of his sister.
Holding a hand over his heart as she all but questioned his skill Knox couldn’t help a small smile as her sassy attitude came back and she gave him terms. Nodding he reached into his back pocket and handed her a card. “That’s my number. Text me the address and the time and I’ll be there.” Double-checking his equipment he gave the blonde that was his sister a wink and turned, fading back into the crowd. While that meeting hadn’t gone exactly as he had planned at least she hadn’t told him to take a hike. The was something….right?
Siobhan looked at the man for a long moment as he took the photo back from her hand and let her hand fall beside her. She would hate to admit it out loud she was a mirror image of the woman in the photo. She studied his face for a moment and could see that he held some of her features as well, the blue eyes being the one that stood out. She watched the elder looking male eye her for a moment as she was fighting her own tears and insecurities. She wasn’t sure how to react to the news if she was honest. Somehow it was easier to accept her father's other children because he had been a married main yet her mother seemed to be no better. A woman who gave up two children, who knows how many more if she was being honest.
Trying to move passed the pain she was feeling rather deeply due to her nephilim emotions. She went on the defense when it came to Jon. The man who gave her a way of surviving after things with Dominic had hit a snag due to him being hexed and it being unknown to herself. He seemed to accept her statements as she gave him a slightly stern look, stating not to try and get involved with her work life. Looking to the card he held out to her. She took it and nodded to him. “Of course.” She said as she watched him disappear shaking her head slightly with a chuckle as she rushed back into work well after her time she was to return. Telling Jon the line was just long because she knew he would demand to be with her tonight with this stranger that showed up in her life. Quickly texting Knox the address before she got back to work.
As her work day came to a close, she left the building before her normal time as she wanted to stop by the store and get something special to make for dinner. Then becoming overly aware that she had no idea what Knox even liked to eat. Mumbling for a half an hour to herself as she picked up different items before deciding to go simple. Spaghetti who didn’t like spaghetti? Along with some things to make cookies landing on chocolate chip not being sure if he had a nut allergy. Making it home an hour before she told him to be there. She texted Jon saying she couldn’t train that night with him. Something came that night.
She got to work making dinner and cookies, after everything was made she quickly cleaned up and set the table then eyed it wondering if she was going overboard. She touched the scars on her inner palm for a moment reminding herself he was her brother. Before the knock came upon the door. She rushed over to it pulling it open. “Right on time. Come in I made Spaghetti with homemade garlic bread and some chocolate chip cookies we can put ice cream on later if you like.” She opened the door wider to let him into the small two bed one bath rental as she led him to the open living/kitchen/dining space. She sat down after getting some drinks and took a sip from the water and then looked to him. “So…” She said as she poked at the food for a moment. “What made you want to find me? How did you even know about me?” she asked.
Time the rest of the day seemed to creep by, each second stretching into eternity. He had been working towards this meeting for months and now at the culmination, he found himself oddly self-conscious. Meeting his sister made him feel exposed and vulnerable in a way he hadn’t ever felt before and the whole experience was novel. After departing from her he was ashamed to say that he doubled back and made sure she made it back to work safely. After staring at the building that had swallowed her up for a good hour, Knox finally turned and left.
He ran a few errands then made it home where he did some cleaning to kill time before getting ready. Leaving his little apartment he checked in on Eden before heading to the address Siobhan had texted to him. It might have been cheesy but the blonde male stopped to grab a bouquet of flowers, a color collection of different blooms since he didn’t know her favorite color let alone her favorite flower. Hell, she might not even like flowers yet he was going to take the chance. Approaching her door he checked his watch and just as the clock struck the hour she had told him to be there he rang the doorbell. When the door opened the male got a good whiff of delicious cookies and bread.
“These are for you. It smells good in here.” He handed her the flowers, followed her into her apartment. It was small but nicely decorated and the food on the table looked as if she had cooked everything fresh. Sitting down he waited until she dished out the meal, his brows knitting together for a moment when she asked him why he had sought her out. “For the longest time, I thought my Aunt and Uncle were my parents until they were both in a car accident. My Uncle managed to live long enough to tell me about my mother. Our mother.”
He took a bite of the food, chewing thoughtfully, “I wanted to find you because you are all the family I have left.”