A/N: Once again, huge shoutout to intl-incident and Notjustabook. The poses are fantastic and made this chapter possible. Also, there is certainly implied and a bit of violence in this next chapter. So be aware of that!
Fully intending to enjoy myself, I found myself back at the penthouse. I should have known that someone like him would work in one half of the penthouse and live in the other half, plus the next two floors. He greeted me at the door, ushering me in with a grand gesture, directing me to the kitchen. I had a seat at the bar, admiring the surroundings. He smiled at me. “What can I get ya, lovely lady?”
“I’ll take a Sapphire Samurai, I think,” I decided after a moment, thinking about it. Getting drunk didn’t sound like an entirely bad idea, truth be told.
He smiled at me. “Coming right up!”
“Make a tray, would you,” I told him, my voice wry.
He laughed. “Sure, why not. You look like you could use it. Everything ok? I hope I didn’t cause problems between my brother and you…”
“You weren’t the problem,” I murmured, grabbing my drink.
He frowned. “Luna, I really didn’t mean to cause problems.”
“It’s ok, Alaric. Really.”
His phone rang. “Oh, excuse me. I’ll take this and then come back, ok?”
He left and I stood up, looking around, my drink in my hand. I’d already finished half of it just sitting there.
By the end of my second drink, I was feeling the effects. The room spun around me as I got up. I stumbled around and felt a pair of strong hands grab onto my waist. “Easy now,” Alaric whispered. “Easy, Luna. You ok?”
I don’t know what made me do it… one minute he’s steadying me, the next… I’m turning around in his arms and threading mine around his neck, pulling him down for a kiss. A part of me is screaming to stop. But it’s being drowned out by the hurt and sorrow. I really don’t know what I was thinking other than I wanted comfort, a way to forget what happened. Alaric was there. And maybe Roark’s warning was running around my head as well. Was I doing this for spite? The little voice asking that was drowned out again. “Kiss me back,” I whispered. “Please, just kiss me back.”
Alaric did just that. As we kissed, he picked me up and carried me through the penthouse toward what I found out was his bedroom. He laid me on the bed and then slid in beside me, holding me.
Something akin to guilt swept over me as a picture of Roark flashed through my mind. But anger welled in its place and I pulled Alaric to me, kissing him desperately, almost desperate to make it stop, to drown it out completely. If only he’d been honest with me… It’s what I thought at the time, using my anger and hurt as an excuse.
I only remember hazy bits of that night. Between the drinks and my mood, I was probably lucky to remember my own name at that point, truth be told. I’m not proud of what I did that night. To this day, it still hurts. Knowing that I could be that spiteful, that cold haunts me. But what happened next haunts me more…
My head was pounding when I came to. I was curled up on the ground next to Alaric’s bed. I could barely think straight, let alone get up.
But it cleared after a little while, cleared enough, at least for me to stumble around and find my clothes. Once I was dressed, I looked around. I heard Alaric’s voice outside the bedroom door. My cheeks colored. What had I just done? Had I really just… had I just slept with Roark’s brother? Mortification warred with something else, something I couldn’t have named at the time. I think now it was a bitter shame mixed in weak attempt at justification. Could Roark and I possibly still be a couple after what had been said between us? But now… what now? As I stood there, I heard Alaric’s voice again.
Something in his tone sent off glaring warning bells in my head. Quietly, I crept to the door and listened.
“…really, Belle, do we have to go over this again?” He sounded exasperated and not a little fed-up. There was a different cadence to his voice too. He didn’t sound at all like the man from before. I frowned, continuing to listen.
“I did what I had to do!” he snarled. “I made the call to Roark already. He’ll be at the warehouse soon. The Treskers are there waiting for him. He’ll come for her! No, I’ll keep her here. I don’t want her to interfere. My brother will learn he should have been loyal to his family. Belisama, if you touch the girl, I swear to you, I will divorce you! She’s not to be harmed! Is that understood? Don’t you like living as you do? Then listen to me!”
My heart was hammering in my chest. Oh Watcher… what had I done? Roark… Alaric… it had been a set-up from the first. I couldn’t breathe. I’d walked right into a trap, the bait for someone else. Roark… what would Alaric do to him? And the Treskers… I knew that name. I’d seen it often enough when I’d been at the precinct, both here and back in Monte Vista. Their names were linked to a number of crimes, up to and including murder. They were hired guns, though it was hard to say whether they were free-lancers or whether they had loyalties. It was unclear. And they were waiting for Roark… I knew I had to get out of there, to warn him!
I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed his number, but it went straight to voicemail. “Oh Watcher, no…” I no longer heard Alaric’s voice. I eased my way out the door. My only thought as I ran out the door was that I had to get there… I had to save Roark…
The entire trip across town, my heart pounded in my head. Would I get there in time? How was I going to get in? I couldn’t worry about that now. I just had to get there and hope I wasn’t already too late. When I got there, the place looked deserted. In a way, it was good for me. It allowed me to get in undetected.
I eyed the door. I didn’t have my brother’s skills with electronics… but I had learned a thing or two during my time as a PI. After trying a couple tricks, the door opened.
Now I could feel people. Closing my eyes, I let my shields go down. Not every criminal in Bridgeport was a vampire and therefor unable to be read. Many were simple humans. All I needed was one… Ah! There we go. Opening my eyes, I went down a side passageway. And came to what appeared to be dead-end.
But it wasn’t. It was a secret entrance to the part of the warehouse where they stored the more illegal items, guns, ammo, or anything else that they smuggled. Any other time, I’d have been crowing. All the evidence we needed here… but I didn’t care about that. As I found the hidden lever that opened the door, it slid into the wall without a sound and I crept in. The door was hidden behind a large stack of crates. They were perfect for concealing me. I crouched down and slowly made my way as close as I dared. Beyond the crates, the room opened up. I saw two figures, both big men and I could see one of them had a gun. Blake Tresker. I recognized him from several mug shots I’d seen. His brother Jerome was there too. But Roark wasn’t there yet.
I crept back a little, making sure I was hidden in the shadows. These guys weren’t normal Sims, that I knew. I also knew their senses would be a heck of a lot better than normal, too. I had to maintain the element of surprise.
Without a weapon of any kind (other than my magic), I was at a disadvantage and I would more than likely be a liability unless I could figure something out. As thoughts and plans raced through my mind, I heard a ‘swish’ and the door the two men stared at opened. I had to swallow a cry. It was Roark! He’d come!
Part of me wanted to cheer. That meant something, that he’d come for me. And part of me wanted to rage. The fool! Why would he waste his time on me? The answer, I knew was that he really did love me. He marched in, seemingly without a care in the world that he had just entered the lion’s den. His face was a mask of stone. “Where is she?” he demanded. “Where’s Luna?”
I had all I could do not to shout to him. I cursed the fact that his own mental shields were strong enough to keep me from even “knocking”. I’d warn him, but I couldn’t.
“Tell me where she is!” Roark snarled. I could hear how close to snapping he was.
“Roark,” I whispered.
A laugh sounded and seemed to echo. “Well, well. If it isn’t my big bad brother, lookin’ to be the White Knight.” Alaric emerged from the shadows toward the back of the room. There was a maniacal grin on his face.
“You son of a llama!” Roark shouted. “What have you done with her, Alaric! I swear, if you’ve hurt her, I’ll-“ Blake, the one with the gun, brought it out, pointing it at Roark as he took a threatening step forward.
Oh Watcher, he was going to get himself killed because of me! I didn’t think, I just react. I crouched and then vaulted over the crates, landing in front of Roark, spreading my arms to the side, yelling, “No! Don’t you hurt him!”
“Luna!” Roark shouted behind me.
“Luna!” Alaric stepped forward, then he snapped at Blake. “Put the gun down, fool! She’s not to be hurt.” He looked at me and in his eyes, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. There was feeling there, almost a pleading. It gave me a bit of hope.
I looked at him, tried to appeal to him. “Alaric, please. Don’t hurt him. I-I… I love him, Alaric.”
I could hear Roark’s intact of breath and saw Alaric sag. “Luna,” he murmured, shaking his head. “Luna, I-“
Blake Tresker let out a bark of laughter. “Seems Mistress was right! You’ve gone soft, Vampire!” He spun the gun toward Alaric. “Yer weak! Yer mother would be very disappointed in ya, Alaric!”
“What is this?” Alaric demanded. “I’m your boss!”
“No, not you. We follow Lady Elvira, not you!” I could feel Roark behind me ready to spring. Everything happened so fast… He must have seen Roark beginning to move out of the corner of his eye because the gun swung back this way. I just… reacted, grabbing for the gun, trying to twist it out of his hands.
He threw me back toward Roark and we hit and went down in a pile, then turned the gun just as Alaric growled and leapt for him. As I tried to disentangle myself from Roark, the explosion of the gunshot echoed in the warehouse.
I saw Alaric stagger back, both hands at his chest. They came away dark with his blood. He fell even as Roark went after them. Jerome and Blake took one look and they ran. Roark snapped out, “Luna, stay with Alaric. I’m going after them!” I watched him go and then turned to Alaric. He lay where he had fallen.
Blood had soaked the front of his shirt. When I checked, his pulse was weak and thread. But as I pulled my phone out to make the call to 911, he opened his eyes. “L-luna,” he whispered. “I-I know I shouldn’t ask.” He had to take a breath, though it was hard for him. “H-help me s-sit up… would you? Please?” Tears stung my eyes. I remember the way he’d held me just the night before. And I saw the look in his eyes when he’d seen me in danger. I couldn’t deny him that. With the amount of blood there was, I knew he was hurt badly. The only reason he wasn’t dead outright was because he was a vampire. So I did what he asked. I slid beneath him and held onto him.
He stared up at me for a long moment, as if memorizing my face. Then, his hand trembling, he brought it up to my cheek. “I-I’ve been a fool,” he whispered to me. “I-I thought I could things… my way. S-so angry… blamed Roark. Wanted to hurt him, wanted to take you from him. T-then I met you.” Tears slid down my cheeks.
“Shhh. Save your strength,” I told him, my voice cracking. “It’ll be ok.”
The door slid open and Roark ran in. “Help’s on its way, Luna. They got away, but how’s-“ He stopped when he saw me with Alaric. By the look on his face, I knew that he knew his brother wouldn’t last that long.
Roark collapsed on his knees next to me, looking down at his brother. His voice was gruff, “Help’s on its way, little brother. Hang on, just a little while longer.”
Alaric gave a bark of laughter, the sound turning into a violent cough. “’Fraid that isn’t gonna happen. Y-you know it… as well as I. Roark…” He had to suck in a breath which was becoming harder to do. “I’m sorry. I’ve spent so long… being angry. I-I just wanted to blame you.”
“Stop, Alaric. Stop, you don’t have to apologize,” Roark begged. Tears swam in his eyes too. The hand he’d put on my shoulder tightened almost painfully, but I didn’t say anything. “Just hang on a little while. We’ll figure all this out, ok?”
Alaric shook his head weakly. “R-roark… Listen. Too late. It’s too late for you and I. B-but not too late… for you and her. Y-you take care of her, ok? B-be the man… I never could.” I was sobbing now, unable to contain it.
“I-I promise,” Roark whispered. “But you’re wrong. You’re already that man, Alaric.” He was crying too.
Alaric smiled at us. “N-never thought I’d hear ya- say that,” he whispered. “L-luna. Don’t-don’t forget me, ok?” With what seemed to a last sigh, he went limp in my arms. And I knew he was gone.
“Alaric? Alaric!” I whispered. I threw my head back on a howl, Roark looking lost.