A/N: There originally wasn't a part 2 of this, but I had some stuff I wanted to put into motion instead of just leaving it in my mind for later. This at least hints of some things yet to come. Anyway - I wanted to thank you for the reviews so far! You guys are so awesome and I am happy you are liking it :) This series will eventually be supernatural, with powers and creatures and stuff, but for now it's just gen because it's mainly backstory. The main storyline will take place when Max is around twenty, so there's a way to go still. Also I posted "I Dreamed A Dream", which is set in this series, but focuses on Cass instead of Max. She has visions ;) Please check it out if you like this series! Max is in it a lot, don't worry ;) Tye (interestinglyenough) and I have big plans for this series and all of these characters. So please don't forget to check out her profile too, because I'm sure she'll start posting soon, too :) And you don't want to miss her stories of Nyx and some of the others!
Chapter length: 1192
"What is that?"
Max looked up from where he sat practically cuddling his new puppy as Nyx entered the room. He almost forgot they had plans today. Three days ago he got his puppy and while he had mentioned it briefly to Nyx on the bus, this was the first time Nyx was getting to see her.
"This is Aries," Max told him. "And she's not a what, she's a she."
Nyx's golden eyes narrowed at the puppy which writhed in Max's lap, eager to be set free so it could run to Nyx. Max smiled and released the wriggling ball of fur. Nyx's eyes narrowed further as the puppy approached him, her little tail wagging happily as she sniffed at his feet.
"Isn't she adorable?"
"I'm not sure 'adorable' is the correct word," Nyx intoned, staring down at the puppy. "She's going to get big, isn't she?"
"Well, she's a Lab mix," Max said with a shrug. "But yes, her feet look rather large, no? She'll get pretty big."
Max frowned at the lack of enthusiasm in his friend's voice. "What's wrong? You don't like her?"
"No, she's fine," Nyx said quickly, shaking his head even as his fingers reached up to lightly prod his black beanie. Sometimes Max just wanted to rip it off to see what he was hiding under there. Was it a bald spot? A tattoo of some kind? The possibilities were endless and each time he saw that beanie he grew more curious.
It was a touchy subject with Nyx, though. Max got the impression it was from his parents, whom he never talked about. He didn't know what happened between Nyx and his parents, but bringing them up usually meant getting a door slammed in his face and the silent treatment for a while. He hated seeing Nyx glum, so he never bothered to bring it up anymore.
"Then what's wrong?" Max asked of his friend. Nyx didn't look glum, exactly, but he looked perturbed nevertheless. "I'm not a mind reader, Nyx."
"I just don't like big dogs."
Max never thought about that. Nyx had a dog himself, after all; a male pug named Taurus. The little thing could be quite hyper. Perhaps that was why Nyx was wary of large dogs. If Taurus was larger he could easily knock someone over, especially with how hyper he could be. Aries wouldn't knock Nyx over, though. Max would train her to be good.
"Don't worry about Aries," Max told him. "I promise she won't knock you on your ass. Unless you have it coming."
Nyx scowled at him. Max grinned back, the expression familiar.
"Just saying," he said innocently.
Nyx rolled his eyes. "Are we having movie night or what?"
Max chuckled and nodded. It was Thanksgiving Break this weekend, so today was their last day of school. They had a four-day weekend and would return to school on Monday. Max was happy for the break, as always. He didn't necessarily hate school but he didn't really like it, either. He didn't like getting up early only to be surrounded by rude, sleep-deprived individuals.
Sometimes Max and Nyx would have movie nights. Nyx never stayed the night, though. Their movie night could go late into the night but inevitably Nyx would go home and never stay. In their years of friendship they had never had a sleep-over, nor had Max ever seen Nyx without his beanie. He wondered if he slept in the thing as well.
Once again his fingers itched to just yank the beanie off and apologize after the fact, if only to sate his curiosity, but he kept his hands to himself, whistling for Aries to return to him. She happily trotted back to his feet, staring up at him with big blue eyes.
"I'll get the popcorn," Max told his friend, nodding toward the kitchen. "You pick the movie."
Nyx nodded and Max turned to enter the kitchen, leaving Nyx to wander toward his bedroom.
"Knows?" intoned the other voice through the phone line.
Daniel stood on his porch outside of his home, listening to the crickets chirping in their own symphony. He liked it out here, in the woods, away from the main part of the city, but not so far that it was troublesome to go anywhere. They lived ten minutes out of town, Max's friend, Nyx, living another ten minutes away. When Daniel bought this house he had only been thinking about secluding himself and Max from the world.
"Yes," he answered the voice, "Max knows I'm not his father."
"I assumed he already knew."
"Yes, well, I told him. I also told him what happened to his mother."
"You didn't tell him everything, I hope?"
Daniel considered lying. He considered telling him he did tell Max everything. Stirring up trouble was not a good idea, however, and thus he went with the truth. "I didn't tell him you killed her. He doesn't know who you are."
"Good," said the voice. "Keep it that way. I was worried you had gotten soft on me."
"Good. I have big plans for Maxim and I would hate to have you ruin them."
Daniel closed his eyes, flicking the butt of his cigarette away, exhaling smoke through his nose. "I don't like lying to him."
"If you tell him, I will kill you both, plans or no."
It was that same threat that always kept him silent. Always kept him from telling Max everything. Max hated lying; he hated secrets. In explaining the truth to Max, he told another lie. A lie by omission.
"I let you keep him," the voice reminded him.
And Daniel was grateful for this. He wasn't lying to Max when he said he loved his mother, and he loved Max, too. He loved them both so much. And yet this was the only way to keep Max safe. As long as Daniel played the part of double-agent, Max would be safe. For as long as Daniel was alive, he would keep it this way. Despite what Max thought of him, he loved the kid.
"I just wanted to let you know what I told him," Daniel said, looking up at the moon. It was very late; Max finally fell asleep two hours ago, around midnight, despite the fact he had school in the morning. He was too excited about Aries, though. And Nyx came over a lot on their four-day weekend for movie marathons, despite the fact Max's friend never stayed the night.
Daniel hoped Aries could be what Max needed.
A lifeline to normalcy, because one day soon, everything was going to go to hell and he wouldn't be able to protect him anymore. At least Aries gave him an excuse to keep an eye on Max, and keep him close via work. When he was in Daniel's sight, he knew the kid was safe.
With that, Daniel flipped his cell phone shut and shoved it into his pocket, before returning his gaze toward the stars and the moon.
Zoey always loved the moon.
A/N: In case you forgot (since it was only mentioned once last 'chapter') Zoey is the name of Max's mom. Anyway, thanks for reading and please review!