Chapter 46: The Dark Knight’s Tale

Author’s Note: Ok guys, I have spent the last two days on this.  I was having a heck of a time.  It is finished and as good as it is going to get.  I hope you guys like it.

To see the full skit, please head to 02.21- The Pharaoh and the Pirate chapter of the Chronicles of Clarke legacy!  Go check it out anyway 😛

From the journal of Roark Wyvern

 

Luna’s deep breathing told me she had finally allowed herself to sleep.  It had gutted me when I’d finally managed to corner her last night and I’d been able to tell just how bad off she was.  The physical effects of using abilities like we had were myriad and often painful.  I didn’t know what she had done, not until she told me, but I knew that she had to be in such pain.  There was no color in her face and her eyes, those beautiful red eyes, were glazed over in agony.

As I looked at her now, she was still too pale for my liking, but I knew I’d have a fight on my hands if I tried to take her to the hospital and the crux of it was, there was little they could do for her anyway.  She needed rest, that’s what would help her.  My wife had the frustrating habit of not thinking of herself.  She was larger than life and had confidence in spades.  That was what drew me to her from day one.  That welcoming and downright intriguing light in her eyes had drawn me to her like a moth to a flame.  And while she was aware of her own beauty, her own self-worth, she was infuriatingly ignorant of the impact that she had on others.  My wife was one that affected whoever she came in contact with… for good or ill.  She often took center stage, often without realizing it.

And she cared.  Her heart was so big.  Her tendency to shepherd everyone around her was another reason I couldn’t help falling for her and falling hard.  But it was gut-wrenching for me to see her like this.  So busy trying to protect her brother and her new little sister, never once thinking of herself or what protecting them could do to her.  That’s who my wife is.  I loved her for it and still, holding her close like this, one of her hands clutched in mine, it broke my heart the way that little whimpers escaped her throat.

I leaned forward to kiss her forehead.  She snuggled closer, letting out a soft sigh.  There was something about seeing a strong woman- and that’s certainly what my wife is- let their guard down.  It didn’t happen often, not even with me.  One of the most infuriating things about her was her propensity to try to handle everything on her own.  Her pride hated it when she appeared weak, though that was never a word that came to mind when I thought of her, nor would you see anyone associate that word with my wife.

After I listened to her breathing for a few hours, I finally let myself fall asleep, listening to the sound of my wife’s heartbeat and feeling her warmth next to me.


The next morning, I slipped out of bed, gently covering Luna with the blanket.  She was still cool to the touch.  She was still in shock, really, from the mental toll she’d taken the night before.  I kissed her forehead and left the bedroom.  I thought about working out, but then I heard the TV on.  I walked into the living room and found my brother-in-law on the couch, playing video games.  I grinned.

“Hey, always heard you were supposed to be really good at this.  Feel up to a challenge?” I asked him, hopping on the couch without waiting for an invitation as I grabbed the second controller.

“Pft, a challenge huh?  Someone thinks highly of himself,” Alduin snickered.  “But I’ll humor you, oh lowly peasant!”

As Alduin switched menus to begin two player mode, I had to grin a little as a memory from a long time ago surfaced.


My little brother, sister, and I had just been taken in the middle of the night from the little apartment in Bridgeport and had been deposited in a house on the far outskirts of the city.  We’d been told very little.  Alaric and Cyn were only about 4.  I was very close to turning 15 soon.  None of us really knew what was happening, other than we were being sent away “for our own protection”, though even then I suspected that wasn’t entirely true.  Still, for us, this was a new adventure and there was a big screen TV there and a couch big enough for all of us to crowd onto it and get to play our favorite games.

Games were something that we’d always enjoyed together.  And even as we all grew, it was something that remained as a favorite pastime.  It was before everything had gone so horribly wrong, when we’d had hope, when we’d been a family.


“Hey, you gonna hit start or what?” Alduin complained, laughing and nudging me with his shoulder.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m gettin’ there.  Patience is a virtue, Your Highness,” I reminded him with a sneer, shaking my head to clear the memory.  “Oh and prepare to be dethroned.  There’s about to be a bloody coup in the Wyvern house tonight!”

“Pft, you wish!  Your little coup will be nothing but an embarrassing defeat!  Prepare to meet your better on the field of battle!”

It was indeed a bloody battle, and an epic one if I do say so myself.  My brother in law is a worthy opponent.  I might have had him had I been paying better attention.  As it was, it was a close battle.  At the end screen, I shook my head.  “So you keep your title another day,” I told him, grinning.  I leaned back, thinking.

“Another round?” Alduin asked, smirking.

I made a noncommittal noise.  “Hey, I think we need to try cheering up the girls.”

I could see something pass over his face as he looked away.  I understood all too well.  And the worst of it was, he still didn’t know everything.  I thought about warning him, telling him what Luna told me.  Any other time I would have.  But one of the things that Luna had told me that she’d ripped from the sorceress’s mind had been that Alduin had lost a part of himself on the trip back from the Netherworld.  I knew so little about it, I didn’t dare.  I’d let Luna handle that conversation.  Part of me hoped they didn’t go down that road.  My wife wasn’t up to her usual fierceness.  What I was getting off her brother, this time, he’d be the one doing the interrogating.  As much as I wanted to tell him to lay off, I couldn’t.  He had a right to know.

“What do you suggest?”

I shrugged.  “Well, they’d definitely enjoy a day at your family’s spa.  We can use that time to… do something, right?”

Alduin nodded.  “Yeah, they’d love a spa day.”  He pursed his lips.  “What do you have in mind?”

“You know your sister and girlfriend,” I told him.  I hoped he’d come up with something.  I wasn’t the most creative.  Truth is, Luna was easy.  Despite appearances, she wasn’t very high maintenance.  In Bridgeport, we went dancing, had a few drinks, but for the most part, she and I had just loved sitting at home, watching TV or a movie or even playing games.  Once we’d come to Monte Vista, it had all been about the baby and healing, for both of us.  So sitting together outside, or in our room.  That’s what we’d done.

“Cali loves acting, loves theater,” Alduin mused.  “Hey, what about a skit?”

“A skit?”  I reached up to stroke my goatee.  “Hm…”

My brother in law was really getting into it.  “Yeah, a skit!  Think about it, costumes, performing.”  His eyes widened and his smirk turned into a wicked grin. “Oh Watcher… Cali in a SimTrek costume…”

It made me laugh.  There was no shame on his face at all.  “Yeah…” I told him with a snort and a friendly punch to the arm.  “Somehow, think maybe you should save that for uh… when you two are alone.”  But his idea had gotten me thinking.  “Hm, a skit… a skit about true love maybe?” I suggested with a shrug.

He had the grace to blush, though he was still smirking.  “Hm, you’re probably right…”   He ran a hand through his hair, looking thoughtfully to the side. “A skit about true love…”  I could almost hear the wheels turning in his head.   “Think we can get everyone to participate? Would Cyn be up for something like this?”

“My sister would love that!”  I grinned, thinking back once again.


I’d come home from a long day of ROTC training.  I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep.  But I’d come through the archway and just stopped.

“Wait, I thought you were going to be the princess,” my younger brother said exasperatedly.

Cyn grinned at him.  “I don’t do so well as the princess.  I’ll play the Dragon for you to slay!”

“But you’re my sister!”

“We’re playin’ pretend though!”


“She and my brother used to love playing pretend,” I murmured.  I spent a lot of time putting the past behind me.  But it had been harder lately, more of it seemed to surface.  I looked at Alduin.  He was Luna’s little brother and by extension mine.  He wasn’t Alaric, the differences were too glaring.  But there was still something about him that reminded me what it had been like, before I’d lost my brother.  It was a bittersweet feeling and one I wasn’t entirely comfortable with.

I must have let something show because I felt Alduin put a hand on my shoulder.  “This uh, might help cheer her up, then.”

“Yeah, yeah I think it will.  So, Mr. Writer.  Any ideas?  And think we can get it all set up before they get back?”

He grinned.  “Are you kidding? Let’s get everyone working on it. We can do this. I’ll talk to Dad and Pop. You talk to Mom, Nan and Cyn.” He stood up quickly, ready to make a break for it.

It almost brought out a chuckle.  I was well aware of his opinion on the females in this family.  Truth be told, I empathized with him to a certain extent.  But I had to rib him a bit.  “Oh sure, you would leave me with them, wouldn’t you?”

He stopped and looked at me, completely unrepentant.  “You, powerful vampire.  Me, unassuming loner.  I have faith in you, Roark.”

All I saw was his back in retreat as I called out, “I think I know why you like yellow!  You sure you don’t have “coward” in there instead of loner?”  He stopped and looked back at me, baring his fangs at me in a grin.  I waved him on.  “Go, go.  With tail tucked between your legs.  I’ll protect you from the vicious females.”

His laugh echoed back at me. “They scare me and I’m not ashamed to admit it!”

I sighed in bemusement.  Cyn would be easy.  Aurora would enjoy it, I was fairly sure.  Sophia… I had to admit, of all the Wyverns, Sophia was the most intimidating, even to me.  I wasn’t afraid of her, necessarily.  She reminded me of my first commanding officer after I enlisted.  Unassuming and even congenial, but when there was trouble, she hadn’t batted an eye.  I’d seen grown men, hardened men, cower before her without her raising her voice.  Erin Kennedy had been a transplant from Sunset Valley, risen in the ranks there, then transferred to whip the base in Bridgeport into shape.  Sophia was a lot like her.  Rubbing the back of my neck, I prepared to go and try to pull this together before Luna or Cali woke up.


Roark held a cup of coffee in his hand as he watched his wife sleep.  It wasn’t for him.  His smile was tender as he watched her begin to stir, her nose twitching as she caught the scent of the contents of the mug.  It was always a treat to watch her wake up.  She was still a little pale, but the pain seemed to have left her eyes.  In fact, they twinkled when they opened and lit upon the man standing there with a fresh cup of coffee.

“Is that for me?” she asked, tilting her head at him, a light in her eyes as she looked at him.

“Maybe.  How do you feel?”

“There’s only a dull ache now, and compared to last night, it’s a huge improvement.”

Roark nodded and came and sat down on the bed, handing her the coffee.  “Yeah, that’s definitely better than it was.  Still a bit pale, but your eyes are clear.”  He leaned forward and placed a kiss on her forehead.  “Luna.  I want your word that you will keep your shields up.  I’m going to bolster them so stray thoughts don’t get in.  What you did yesterday was bad enough to cause physical symptoms.  There’s no telling what the side effects of continuing to use your abilities will be until you heal.”

His wife sighed.  “Roark, I know-“

“Luna, please.  Promise me.”  His gaze was intense as he brought a hand to her cheek.  “You didn’t see yourself last night.  Will you do it, for me?”

The corners of her mouth curled up in a gentle smile.  “Alright, Roark.  For you.  I promise.”

“Good girl,” he murmured.  “Thank you.”  He touched his forehead to hers.  As he did so, he opened a hole in his own shields.  He extended his thoughts out and touched her shields.  Shields took different forms for different people.  When her grandfather had helped her develop her shields, he’d told her to visualize a wall, like the wall of a castle.  It was a good technique.  But much like a castle wall had arrow slits, there were holes in Luna’s shields.  Roark used his power now to help fill those holes.  He’d remove it after a week or so.  He hoped it was enough time for her to heal.

Roark finished and opened his eyes.  Luna crawled over onto his lap after kissing him.  She let out a soft sigh as she cuddled against his chest.  “I think, that after the day you and Cali had yesterday, you guys should go to your family’s spa.  I think it would do you both a lot of good.”

“Mm, that sounds like a wonderful idea,” she purred, nuzzling her cheek over his as she crawled into his lap.


Preparations took a little bit of time.  Alduin and I ran quickly into town to grab a few things while Sophia, Draco, Aurora, and Jeff got things set up in the garage.  But by the time I heard the roar of Luna’s muscle car on the road, we had everything set up.  I smiled at my baby sister.  “You’re up, Cyn.  You remember what to do?”

She nodded vigorously.  “I remember, big brother.  Cali and Luna will love this!  This is so much fun!”  I couldn’t stop smiling.  Cyn looked great.  I hadn’t seen her this excited about something since the one evening I’d taken her to the Summer Festival in Bridgeport.

I’d wanted nothing to do with the city, not after everything that had happened.  Alaric had already left us.  Cyn missed him terribly.  I couldn’t handle another trip to the hospital, so I’d taken her to the festival, hoping it would cheer her up.  She’d had a good time, just exploring the grounds and she even got her face painted.

She looked gorgeous in her chosen outfit for the skit.

“Go on outside.  I hear them now.”  I hugged her and she seemed to glide out the front door just as Luna and Cali pulled up.  I had to grin as I watched them from the window.  It seemed like forever before Cyn led them to the garage.

“Ok, everyone ready?”

I got nods and grins all around.  “Well, here we go then!”

It was pitch dark in the garage, but it wasn’t a problem for me.  Being a vampire has its uses.  I had to lead Alduin in so he didn’t fall flat on his face.  “Hey, watch it!” he grumbled as I made him sit.

“Shhh!” I had to hold in a laugh.

I took my place, and then the lights came on.

As Cyn gave her lines, I had to admire her.  She was doing really well.  She played her Pixiepire role very well.  “Once upon a time, in a desert beside a vast ocean, the pharaoh of Egypt woke up next to the king of pirates.”

Then I heard the reactions of our audience.  Calysta let out a whistle and called out, “I want a pyramid of my own, Pharaoh!”

Then I heard my own wife’s voice call out, “Where’s your queen, baby?  I volunteer!”  It sent a shiver down my spine and I had to hide a grin even as I had to recite my next lines.

Alduin had written the skit revolving around the Pharaoh and the Pirate King who had yet to find love.  It was a good idea, and the way Alduin had written it, the girls would love it.  Except… I’m no actor.  Not by a long shot.  I couldn’t help but stare at my wife, watch the play of emotions over her face.  Turns out, I’m not the only one who couldn’t concentrate on the skit.  My father-in-law couldn’t stop staring at his wife the entire time he was supposed to be speaking.

I did have to hand it to Cyn, though.  She really shined in her part.  Of course, I think she might be spending a bit too much time with my wife.  That smack upside the head was definitely an improvisation.  As was our wild west proprietor and his saloon girl making out in the corner.

By this point, poor Draco was the only one that seemed to be taking his role seriously at all.  He gave his speech rather eloquently.  But his granddaughter was busy flirting with me and I was busy flirting back.

Cyn was still having a ton of fun.  After the last “scene”, Cyn got to bring in the rest of the packages Alduin and I had picked up.  Cali and Luna tore into the packages and then ran up to Cyn’s room to change.  We waited downstairs.

Alduin was being impatient.  “What is taking them so long?” he groused.

Truth be told, I was getting impatient, too.  I wanted to see my wife.  As footsteps sounded above, I held my breath as my wife came down the steps.

It was like a punch right in the gut.  Luna was beautiful, inside and out.  But watching her descend those steps in the garb of a Pirate Queen… It fit her right down to the ground.

When she stood at the bottom of the stairs, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.  She took my breath away on a regular basis.  But there was something in the way she looked at me then, something that had me closing my eyes for a moment.

She sauntered over to me, her hips swaying.  I’m pretty sure she was trying to kill me.  “Hello my King,” she whispered, her voice low and sultry.

“You… Luna, you are so beautiful.”  It wasn’t in character, wasn’t even all that eloquent as compliments go.  But I couldn’t get the words out.  I couldn’t find any that adequately described how I felt about what I was seeing, or how she made me feel on a regular basis.  I wasn’t a poet, I didn’t have my brother-in-law’s gift with words.

All I could do was tell her the best way I knew how.  Through my actions.  There was activity going on around us, I knew that.  Alduin had been laughing when his sister came down.  But I could hear his breath catch as Calysta came down.

Luna looped her arms around my neck.  We didn’t need words at that moment.  It worked for us.

Truth be told, I wanted to carry my wife off to bed immediately and I was pretty sure I wasn’t alone in that thought either.  But Cyn insisted that we all take some photos to commemorate the night.  So that’s what we did.  I’ll be putting a couple of these in my wallet, I think.

As I lay here, holding my wife close while we get ready to sleep after we had taken care of our son, I can’t help but look back on tonight with a smile.  I’m certainly no actor.  I’ll leave that to Calysta.  But it was the most fun I remember having… ever, really.  I snuggled closer to my wife.

“Good night my Pirate King,” she murmured, her voice already half-asleep.

“Good night, my Queen,” I whispered back, leaning up to kiss her cheek before closing my eyes and letting myself fall into sleep.


Author’s Note: Another huge shoutout to Ivane.  The shots from the skit are all hers.  Aren’t they just freakin’ awesome?  And she found the costumes which I just love!

Interlude Four: The Darkness Thickens

Bridgeport, a few weeks after Alaric’s death


 

The city’s lights faded away in the rearview mirror of the expensive car.

Belisama Donovan sat behind the wheel, her grip on the steering wheel made her knuckles white.  She had thought about ignoring this summons.  Had actually contemplated just ignoring and doing what she wanted.  But right on the heels of that thought was the possible consequences from ignoring the summons.  Though she hated to admit it, those thoughts sent a shiver down her spine.  And so, she found herself following a winding road out of the city.

It looked like nothing more than a small stone shack on the far outskirts of the city.  But looks could be deceiving.  Bridgeport was home to one of the world’s only super, super max security prison facility.  It was the kind of place that was used to house supernaturals.  The only place that could, aside from the Netherworld, anyway.  Belisama looked disdainfully at the shack façade as she climbed out of her car.  She walked through the double doors into the barren interior.  In front of her was an elevator.

She rode it down and instinctively knew that they were several stories below the surface.  The wards, both technological and magical, made her skin crawl.  Hmph, she’s the one locked up like a rat in a cage and she has the nerve to summon me like a wayward child!

She went through the security station.  There were no guards here.  There didn’t need to be.  Those wards were more than enough to keep the inmates in line.  And if by some miracle, they managed to escape, the unseen guards would take care of them.

Another shudder ran over Belisama’s flesh, raising goosebumps along her arms.  She sauntered through the double doors in front of her.

There was almost a sucking sound, as if the next little room was some sort of a vacuum.  Then she was through the last set of double doors, a huge window looking through into a room on the other side.

The woman on the cot had been waiting for this visitor.  She didn’t need to look to know it was her.  Her energy was only too familiar.  Elvira supposed it was better late than never, though the lack of obedience would need to be dealt with.

Belisama looked around, that unmistakable sneer on her face.  “How the mighty have fallen,” she murmured, though not even she was brave enough to say it any louder.  She watched out of the corner of her eye as Elvira levered herself off the dingy cot in the corner of the small cell.

Elvira wanted to wipe the smirk off the arrogant chit’s face, but that would have to wait.  They had much to discuss first.

The elder vampire matriarch went and sat down in the small chair in the cell, steepling her hands in front of her as she rested her elbows on her knees.  “I’m glad you could finally join me,” she murmured.  She had no need to raise her voice.  She would be heard.  Belisama had gone right up to the glass, peering in.

That voice… it sent a chill down Belisama’s spine.  Her mother in law had always been able to do that.  The power seemed to roll off Elvira Slayer in waves.  One could forget it for short periods, but never when they were in her presence.  That thought of defiance, of refusing to sit, flew out of Belisama’s mind.  She took the seat, even as Elvira stood up, her arms crossed over her chest.

“Good girl,” Elvira murmured.  “Now, shall we get down to business?”

“That would be appreciated.”  Belisama managed to inject enough disdain in there to make it clear what she thought of being summoned there, yet Elvira had to admire her pluck.  At least for a short amount of time.

“Word has reached me that you plan on traveling to Monte Vista.  Didn’t I make myself clear already?  Any moves against the Wyverns are to be made only with my express permission.”

Belisama’s eyes narrowed dangerously.  “I see your network is as strong as ever.  There’s no point in lying.  Yes, I plan on going there.  I plan on ripping Luna Wyvern’s heart out of her chest while that traitor watches.”

Elvira sneered.  “Do you even have any idea who you’re dealing with?  The Wyverns are powerful.  More powerful than you can imagine.  And their home is surrounded by wards.  Wards that will turn you to dust before you could attempt to step across the threshold.”

“You’d let them get away with they have!?” Belisama hissed, clenching her hands into fists.  “They killed your son, my husband!”  Fury and what might have been grief colored her pale cheeks.

“I’m well aware of what they’ve done.”  Elvira’s voice was as cold as an Arctic wind and her eyes flashed dangerously.  “They will pay, in due time.  But touching them in their home territory is not only foolish but dangerous.  I gave those orders for a reason.  Don’t you think I would have already taken care of them by now if caution wasn’t needed?”

“I want her dead!” Belisama exploded.  “She deserves to die for what she did!  Alaric tried to protect her and it got him killed!”

She had begun to rise from her chair but then dropped back in shock as the lights all around her went out.  Elvira hadn’t moved.  But all the lights had simply died… Belisama knew fear then.  Elvira could manipulate things in this place?

“Yes, she deserves to die,” Elvira continued, as if nothing untoward had occurred.  “They all do for their interference.  I have already begun to ensure that, but the fact remains that attacking them on their home turf is out of the question.  Disobey me in this at your own peril, Belisama.  My name, nor my power can protect you in Monte Vista.”

Belisama knew a dismissal when she heard it and she was only too happy to make a beeline for the door.  She couldn’t help looking over her shoulder as if something monster was behind her.  But even as she left Elvira’s presence, fury and something akin to shame assailed her.  How dare that woman order her about like some dog.  She had a right to avenge her husband’s death.  So their home was warded.  There were other ways to get to someone.


 

Elvira watched Belisama’s retreat with the same stony expression.  Only once she could feel the girl leave the premises did she allow the malicious smile to cross her lips.  The seeds had been planted.  She knew Belisama better than the girl knew herself.  Even terrified, the girl’s rebellious streak and need to prove that she was her own boss would send her running to Monte Vista.  Elvira very much doubted Belisama would succeed in her mission, though even if the girl managed to do half of what she wanted, it would be worth it.  And Elvira had no doubt that the Wyverns would rid her of the nuisance that Belisama had become.  It was killing two birds with one stone, as far as she saw it.  And if Belisama managed to kill Luna Wyvern?  All the better.

Her eyes glowed red in the absence of light and the abyss seemed to look back.


 

Chapter 36:… Before the Dawn

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.


Chapter 35: It’s Always Darkest…

A/N: Ok got a couple of important shoutouts here.  The first is to intl_incident who not only created the gorgeous manor that I have used for the prologue as well as all the Interlude shots, but you will see her amazing Ultramodern Penthouse in this update.  Go check out her stuff!  It’s wonderful!

 

And of course, a HUGE thank you to Louise, AKA Notjustabook of Hollander fame, for the absolutely awesome poses she made for me for not just this update, but the ones following it.  If you go here: Her Blog you can find the poses she did.  I also have to apologize profusely once again to her for all I put her through XD  I had originally intended to have her make them piece-meal, just a few at a time.  But because I was having some difficulties in RL, I ended up dumping them on her all at once.  I’m sorry Louise!  However, they came out soooo awesome!  I hope you enjoy how they are used ^^

Several months later

The woman looked out the window of the quiet apartment, her beautiful face marred by a melancholy expression.  In the depths of her red eyes, anguish and pain roiled within them.  She looked down at her swollen stomach, resting her two hands upon it, feeling the life inside of her.

Tears stood in her eyes, though they didn’t fall, just swam there, making the evening light reflect oddly against her irises.  “I’m so scared, little one,” she whispered.  “So scared…”  At that moment, she wanted her mother.  She wanted her with a fierceness that shocked her to her core.  After months of feeling as if she were trapped in a deep well of her own making, Luna finally knew what she had to do.

She picked up her phone, punched the #1, and then let it ring.  As soon as the voice on the other end of the line picked up, something tore loose in the girl.  “Mommy,” she whispered.  “It’s me.  It’s Luna.  Mommy… I messed up.  I messed up bad.  C-can I come home?”

Aurora froze, her grip on the phone extra tight.  Her daughter’s voice sounded so unlike her.  She hadn’t heard Luna speak like that since she’d been a toddler, after Draco had almost been killed.  And her connection to her daughter brought a whirlwind of feelings.  Guilt, fear, sadness, grief… confusion.  It was a miasma of emotion.  But Luna was alive.  And she needed her mommy.  “Ssshhh, baby,” Aurora soothed.  “Tell your mama what’s wrong, baby.  And you shouldn’t even have to ask.  You know better than that.  You are always welcome here.  Here is your home, no matter where you are.”

The last part said in such a scolding, no-nonsense way brought a giggle out.  It surprised Luna.  Yes.  Yes, this is exactly what she needed.  “Mom… I-I really messed up.  I’m so sorry.”

“Sweetheart, why don’t you tell me what happened.  Start at the beginning, ok?”

Luna drew in a deep breath.  “I-it all started… when I met my Vampire Prince.”  Luna took her mother through her first meeting with Roark; she didn’t hear the gasp on the other end of the line as she continued on, her voice rising and falling, even cracking with emotion.  Aurora’s heart went out to her.  Her baby had found love… and heartache, and tragedy.  It poured off her in waves, something that even through a phone connection, Aurora could feel it.  She let go on, though, knowing Luna needed to tell her story.


 

I had decided that I was going to give Roark and I few days to cool off.  I concentrated on my work as much as I could, but my heart wasn’t in it.  I felt bad about our disagreement… or whatever you’d call what we had.  I should have stayed, talked it out.  Things had happened kinda fast between us, despite what we had intended.  While I waited and debated whether to call him, my phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID, hoping it was him and yet calling myself a bloody fool for being disappointed that I didn’t recognize the number.  Rolling my eyes at my own foolishness, I answered the phone.

“Luna Wyvern, Private Investigator Services.”

“Hello Miss Wyvern.”  The voice on the other end was masculine, and there was definitely an air about him.  “I find myself in need of certain services.  The kind of services that I hear you excel at.  Would you be interested in meeting with me tomorrow night?”  He rattled off the address.  “You can find me in the penthouse suite.”

“Of course, Mr. –“

“I’ll see you tomorrow night, Miss Wyvern.  I look forward to meeting you.  I’ve heard some very good things.  Until then.”  I had to look at my phone after I heard the click.  I’d gotten some strange phone calls, but that was one of the strangest I’d had yet.  Should prove interesting, though.  It would be a much needed distraction.


 

So the next night, I found myself heading out, using my GPS to guide me.  After the valet parked my car… yes, the valet, I looked up.  I’d seen a lot of great buildings in this city.  But this one took the cake.  It was gorgeous.  It went up and up and up.  Everything was top of the line.  Marble and glass and steel combined to make a truly beautiful spectacle.

I’d been in the city almost two years now, so this kinda thing really shouldn’t take me by such surprise, but I was pretty impressed.  I was intrigued by my new client especially since he had told me he had the penthouse suite.  In a building like this, you had to not only be wealthy, but have some major pull.  I rode the elevator up; even that was luxurious with a dark purple velvet over the walls.  Wondering if I shouldn’t have dressed a bit more… professionally, or at least provocatively, I stepped off the elevator and entered into a small foyer that opened up into what I assumed was his office.

The décor was certainly eclectic… and surprising.  As was the man behind the desk.

He was definitely something else.  The nonchalant, even flippant way he sat there, leaning back, his feet on the desk spoke of power.  As I got closer, I realized he was a vampire.

As I approached the desk, he leaned forward, a smile on his face as he extended his hand in welcome.  “You’re prompt, Miss Wyvern.  Very prompt.  I trust you didn’t have a problem finding your way here?”

I chuckled as I took his hand.  Before he could try to kiss my knuckles, I took my hand away.  “Yes, it wasn’t a problem.  Now, shall we get down to business, Mr. -?”

“You can call me Alaric.  Would you mind if I call you Luna?”

“Not at all, Alaric.  Not at all.”  I think I was a bit more… coy than I otherwise might have been.  I could tell he was one that liked to play games.  And while I’d dealt with all sorts, his type was often difficult to pin down on just what they wanted.  That and playing the mysterious vampire, but with friendly tendencies made me want to giggle.  It was a bit cliché, yet I couldn’t deny that he was handsome, nor could I deny that I was intrigued just on principle.

He got up and came around the desk, sliding one hip onto the mahogany surface as he grinned at me.  “I see you’re a woman who likes to get straight to business, hm?”

“Yes, I like knowing why I’ve been… summoned,” I answered tartly.  His charm was oozing from him, but a lot of the time I found that to be more cloying for some reason.  Still, I was intrigued by him.  There was a sense of… familiarity about him.

“Ah yes, I should have known,” he murmured, nodding.

“Should have known what?” I asked him, tilting my head to the side, growing a little tired of the game.

“Why, I should have known only a woman of your beauty and… skills would have attracted my brother.”

I froze for a moment.  “Your brother?”

“Ah… so Roark hasn’t mentioned me?  I was afraid of that.”  He shook his head sadly.  “My brother and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms, unfortunately.”  He shrugged.  “Since our mother and father were incarcerated, we haven’t seen eye to eye on many things.”

“I-incarcerated?” I whispered, though I knew.  It all made so much sense.

Alaric looked taken aback, even shocked.  “He didn’t tell you?”  He searched my face for a long moment and gave a low whistle.  “You don’t know…  Luna, our name is Donovan now.  But we were born Slayer.  Elvira Slayer is our mother.”

I couldn’t seem to draw in a breath as the room spun around me.

I don’t remember stumbling out of his office.  I don’t even really remember leaving at all.  Nor do I remember how I ended up across town, over the bridge almost to the mountains.  But the next thing I knew, I was standing in front of Roark’s house.  My chest was so tight.  I didn’t know that I had been crying until that moment.  I scrubbed my tears away and that’s when the rage hit.  It boiled over me, wiping away the hurt, the confusion until anger was all that was left.  I saw him through the window and that rage went cold.

I stalked up the steps, gave two sharp knocks, then walked in.  I still had the key Roark had given me.  He looked shocked to see me.  “Luna?  What are you doing here?  Are you ok?”

I laughed bitterly.  “No, no I’m not.”

“What’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong?  What’s wrong!”  I crossed my arms over my chest, having to take a deep breath.  “What’s wrong is that you lied to me!”

“No, let me rephrase that… to lie to me, you actually have to say something, I guess, unless you count a lie by omission.”  He just stared at me, as if struck dumb.  “How could you not tell me who you were!?” I finally shouted.  “How could you not tell me who you were?  How could you not tell me that [i]she’s[/i] your mother!”  I wanted to know.  I wanted to know why he hadn’t told me.  Now I knew why he hadn’t wanted to go meet my family.  It was too much for him.

He looked poleaxed.  That was the only word that seemed to fit.  “H-how did you…”  He swallowed, looking away.  “I was afraid,” he whispered.  “I didn’t know who you were at first, didn’t make the connection, I guess.  When I did… I was just afraid.”  He looked at me, his gaze hardening.  “Who told you, Luna?”

“Your brother.  I met Alaric tonight.  Why didn’t you tell me about him?”

He crossed his arms over his chest, everything about him going still.  “My brother?  [i]He[/i] told you?”

The rage and anger had begun to die away, only to leave this terrible ache in the center of my chest.  I had to put my hand over my face for a moment.  “Roark, what does it matter?  I just want to know… why?”

He didn’t seem to hear me.  He just turned away, his face utterly devoid of emotion.  “Stay away from Alaric.”  His voice was low and controlled.  “He’s dangerous.”

That imperious tone… the rage flared back with a vengeance.  “Excuuuuuse me?” I hissed.  “Stay away from him?  ‘He’s dangerous’?  At least he told me the truth!  Which is more than I can say for you!”

I whirled around, intending to leave.  My heart hammered in my chest when I heard no movement.  He wasn’t going to stop me…

I think my heart broke then.  A sob escaped and I raced out of the door, tears streaming down my face.  As if sensing the heartache, the skies chose that moment to open up above me.


 

As the door slammed behind her, it seemed to snap Roark out of it.  He jolted and whirled around, his heart freezing in his chest.  He ran to the door, intending to follow her.  But what right did he have?  She was right, he’d lied to her.  He hadn’t told her who he was.  And he should have.  He’d been terrified, terrified she’d hate him.  But he’d seen her face.  There had been more hurt than anger there.  And Alaric…  With a violent oath, he slammed his fist against the doorframe, leaning there, wondering how things had gone so very wrong and how he’d fix them.


I stumbled into my apartment and threw myself on my bed.  The sobs wracked my body.  I couldn’t stop them, no matter how hard I tried.

I’m not sure how long I cried; it was a long time, that’s all I know.  I was all cried out by that point.  I had nothing left in me.  I was feeling numb.  I slowly rolled over, just lying there, staring up at the ceiling.

I tried sliding under the covers, still fully clothed to get some sleep.  But no sooner than I’d close my eyes did they snap open again.  I still didn’t have any tears left, but I sure felt like I could use some.  It would have been better than this horrid numbness.

Finally, knowing sleep was useless, I got up and went to the couch, intending to find something to watch on TV.  But as I just sat there, staring at the blank screen, I knew that wouldn’t work either.

I languished on the couch for quite a while before getting up to go stare out of the window.  As I did, my phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID and recognized the number as the one Alaric had called me from before.  I thought about just letting it go to voicemail, ignoring it all together.  I didn’t want his money.  I…

I stopped, my head going up.  Stay away from him, hm?  Why should I?  He only told me the truth.  In what I’d now call a fit of spite, I answered the phone.  “Alaric.  Yes, I’m alright.  I apologize for leaving the way I did.  Why, yes, I’d love to join you for a drink.”  I checked my watch.   “In an hour ok?  Great, I’ll see you there.”


 

Chapter 34: The Eclipse Begins

From: thelonewolf@MonteVista.net

To: eclipsesshadow@Bridgeport.net

Subject: Guess what!?

Hey lil brother!

Guess who will be making an appearance at one, Alduin Wyvern’s eighteenth birthday party?  That’s right!  Your big sister took two weeks off and will be there for your big day!  I can send you off to University in style!  And yes, that is totally a crack about your wardrobe choices 😛  Love you lil brother ^^

I’ll be sure to give you the details as soon as I know them, ok?  I love all you guys!  I can’t wait to see everyone!  It’s been too long.

Love Always,

Luna


 

I haven’t talked to Roark yet about going home to visit the family.  I was hoping he’d actually come with me.  I knew his leave wasn’t up for a while yet.  Hopefully he’d be able to come so he could meet everyone.  But maybe he won’t want to come.  We had an odd conversation the other day.  It was midafternoon.  He was still in his PJs.  I’d gotten home from a short case in the early morning hours and wasn’t ready for bed yet.  We were cuddling together on the couch.

“Hey babe,” he asked after a bit.  I could hear a slight hesitation in his voice as if he had to really think about what he was going to say next.

I turned just a bit to look at him.  “Everything ok?”

He gave me a smile.  “Sure it is.  I’ve just been thinking.  I’ve been hesitant to ask because I wasn’t sure how you’d react, but… your last name, Wyvern.  Are you related to Draco Wyvern?”

I grinned and made a grand gesture.  “You could say that.  He’s my grandfather.  Why do you ask?”

He smiled, though it looked forced.  “Just kinda hard to live here and not know the name of Wyvern.  Just curious.  He’s a hero here, after all.”

For some reason, it had the ring of falsehood about it or at least it sounded like there might be more to it.  But I couldn’t tell why he’d lie or even what he might have been lying about.  It made me a little nervous.  Especially in light of what I had wanted to ask him.  “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, of course…”

I wasn’t quite sure where to go with it after that, so I dropped it.  I decided to wait to broach him coming with me to meet my family until a little later.  Maybe he was just intimidated.  Aside from the police force, when most found out my name, they looked at me with awe.  I’d become used to it really.  After all, the paparazzi still liked to hang around outside the fence at home.  I shrugged one shoulder and settled back and watched him play games.


 

I saw Roark looking in the fridge today, a frown on his face.  “What’s wrong, love?”

“Need to run out and get some more plasma juice,” he grumbled.  “Cyn must have taken the last one and forgot to tell me.  She won’t be home from work till later.”  His sister had a part time job working at the science center.  She loved it there.  Those that worked there looked after her and she got to garden to her heart’s content.  They actually had quite the garden in the basement.  Yes, the basement.  Gardening outdoors would be dangerous for a vampire, after all.

“Roark, why bother with the juice?” I asked quietly, looking at him.  “I’m right here.”

He stopped and stared at me, his eyes wide.  “Wait… are you… are you giving me permission to… drink from you?”

I grinned at him.  “Of course I am.  You should know I’d be fine with it.  I love you.”

He put his hand to my cheek tenderly.  “And I love you.”

“I promise that I’ll be gentle.  You might feel a little prick when I bite, but my saliva will deaden it immediately, ok?” he murmured as he leaned forward.  I stood there, waiting.  I was actually curious about the sensation.  I’d heard that vampire feeding could feel quite good, depending.  He was right; there was a little prick, almost like a pinch, but it was over and done so quick, might not as well have felt it at all.  The sensation of him feeding was like nothing I’d ever felt before.  There was this kind of calm with a hint of euphoria mixed in with it.  At that moment, I’d have done anything he wanted to do.

I’m not actually sure how long he fed.  I didn’t move at all during it, though I honestly don’t know if I could even had I wanted to.  As soon as he stopped though, I staggered.  I might have fallen had he not been there to catch me.  “You ok?” he asked, his expression full of concern.

I had to shake my head, trying to clear the fog.  “Yeah.  Yeah, I’m fine.  Little light-headed, that’s all.”  I looked at him.  “Wow…  That was definitely… something.  Is it always like that?”

He chuckled.  “Well, it won’t be quite so overwhelming once you get used to it.”  He licked his lips.  “Just so you know… you taste really good.”  He slung his arm around my waist.  “C’mon, you’ll be tired after that.  Let’s go get some sleep.”

I didn’t argue with that.  I changed then crawled into bed.  No sooner had he curled up next to me, his arms around me then I was asleep.


 

The next morning, I was still a little out of it, but more like I’d been on a stake out for three nights without any sleep.  Cyn was up and sitting at the island in the kitchen.  I yawned loudly, then grinned at her.  “Morning, Cyn.  Where’s your brother?”

She smiled back, just a little shyly.  Cyn was such a sweetheart.  “He went out for a quick run.  Said he’d back soon, though.  You ok?”  Her voice sounded like a child’s and she cocked her head to the side.  It was hard to tell at times, but Cyn was trapped somewhere between an adult and a child, sometimes having moments of utter clarity.

I grimaced.  “Just tired.  I’ll be ok.  Need to wake up is all.”

Her expression brightened and it was such a child-like excitement, my heart just melted.  “Can I show you my game before Roark gets back?”

“Sure!”  Cyn had already jumped up.  I couldn’t help but grin as I went to stand up.  But the grin soon turned to a look of fear as Cyn let out a blood curdling shriek.  I wasn’t sure what to do; I’m ashamed to say I froze a little.

I heard the door slam open and Roark came running in.  He approached his sister who was letting out little whimpers and shrieks.  He looked at me even as he began to talk to his sister.  “Hey Cyn, Cyn.  It’s ok, sis.  You’re alright.  It’s just Luna and I here, ok?  You know what to do.  It’s ok.”  I held my breath.  I hadn’t seen one of her episodes yet.  It was terrifying and heartbreaking.  But the gentle way Roark handled Cyn… if I wasn’t in love with him before, I surely was now.

After a moment, the panic seemed to leave her eyes and she pulled a paper bag from her back pocket and began to breath into it, in and out, in and out.

And just as if nothing had happened, Cyn was back.  She smiled at both of us.  “Can I show Luna the racing game, Roark?”

He smiled at her.  “Of course you can.”  He put an arm around her shoulder and gave her a quick squeeze.  Then he looked at me.  “I’m just gonna take a quick shower, then I’ll join you girl, ok?”  Cyn gave a loud cheer and then leapt over the back of the couch and grabbed the controlling.  I went around.

She was so excited to show me her game, a game I used to play with Pop all the time that I just had to grin as I sat there.

After her first race, she looked at me.  “Wanna race, Luna?”

“You bet!  I used to play like this with my Pop all the time!  You’re on, Cyn!”

Our game was good-natured, if a little vicious at times.  “Oh, c’mon, not the wall again!” I wailed.

Roark came out to join us after his shower and you could hear all of us yelling and giggling.  I can’t wait for my family to meet them, they’ll fit in so well.


 

I sit here on the floor of my apartment, wondering where it all went wrong…

Well, not wrong, I guess… I don’t know.  I need to back up.  Tell it from the beginning.  Roark had been watching a bit of the game on TV the other night when I’d ask him if we could talk about something. He stood up and nodded.  “Sure, babe.  What’s up?”

“So, my little brother will be turning 18 in a couple weeks.  I told my family I’d be there for it.  I want you and Cyn to come with me.”

I thought he’d be overjoyed or at least curious after the one conversation we’d had.  Instead, his gaze became shuttered and he looked away from me.  “I’m sorry, Luna.  W-we can’t.”

“What do you mean?  Did your leave end already?  Did you get called up again?”

“No, no I’m still on leave.  I just… we can’t go.”  The way his voice had gone hard had my own hackles raising.  There was something in his voice, something that sent off warning bells in my head.

“Why not?  Don’t you want to meet my family?  What’s the deal, Roark?”

“No, I don’t!” he exploded.  My eyes widened in shock, then narrowed.

“Fine,” I murmured.  I couldn’t believe how calm my voice was.  I was nowhere near calm.  “That’s just fine.”  I turned and walked right out of the house, slamming the door in his face.  He didn’t follow.

So now I sit here…  I don’t even know what happened.  Maybe I jumped the gun a bit by asking him to come meet my family like that.  I just thought… maybe it wasn’t as serious for him as it was for me?  But I can’t believe that.  I may be young yet, but, c’mon I know how he looked at me!  I know that kinda look.

It’s the same look my parents get when they look at each other, or Nan and Pop.  I-I probably just came on too strong.  That’s a big step, after all, meeting your girl’s family.  Then again, I don’t know much about his family, other than Cyn.

We said we’d take it slow.  This wasn’t slow enough, I guess.  I’ve always had that problem.  Alduin calls me a whirlwind sometimes.  Well, I’ll give him his space for a couple days.  Maybe he’ll give me a call.  I have a couple cases I can look into in the meantime.  I hope he calls…


Couple Weeks Later; Back in Monte Vista

Alduin went to the fridge, then stopped.  Aurora looked up.  “What is it, dear?”

“I don’t know… just upset that Luna isn’t coming after all.  She was so excited just a couple weeks ago.  Wish she would tell us what’s wrong.”

Aurora sighed.  She agreed with her son wholeheartedly.  But Luna was a grown woman.  She had a right to her privacy… even if it broke her mother’s heart.  “I know, baby.  C’mere.  Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll be ok in a little while.  You know her, nothing keeps her down for long.”

Alduin nodded.  “Yeah, guess you’re right.  Maybe during break I’ll fly out to see her in Bridgeport, cheer her up.”  He shrugged and walked on.  Aurora looked after him, holding her smile in place until he left.  Then she let the worry show.  What was going on with Luna?  Her terse email, not even a call, had simply said, ‘Not able to make it, will call and talk later.’

No one had been able to make anything of it.  Draco had been concerned, but he’d felt nothing from the Universe, as he liked to call it.  “Perhaps she’s experiencing some boy trouble,” Sophia had offered.  She looked troubled herself.  “Or a case isn’t going well.”

They traded theories back and forth, but the truth was, they really couldn’t know anything unless Luna confided in them.  She’d always been an outgoing girl, so having her withdraw was difficult on them.  But they agreed that letting her come to them would be better right now.  She’d come, when she was ready.

The next day, they gathered around Alduin as he stood behind his cake.  They were all putting on bright, cheery faces, but they were all too aware of Luna’s absence.

Alduin stepped up to the cake, closed his eyes and breathed a quick little plea that Luna was ok before blowing out his candles.

The sparkles surrounded him and Alduin became a young adult.

He was able to graduate with some of his old classmates… and chose some odd attire to do so.  In fact, it was a SimTrek uniform that his grandparents had gotten him for his birthday.  His mother and father looked at him askance, but then they just shrugged.  Alduin liked to make a statement at times.

“C’mon guys, get together, I want a picture!” Aurora called out to her family as they came out of City Hall.

Having already completed all the paperwork, registering for classes, choosing his housing, Alduin was ready to go to University.  Early the next morning, before the sun was even up, the small moving van sat outside, idling at the curb.  Amidst his family… he frowned, wishing that Luna had been able to come.  But he sighed and took his small suitcase out to the van, his family waving and calling goodbye.

Then he was off to University.  As soon as the van pulled away, he looked at the driver.  He didn’t know his name only that he worked for the Agency as well.  “So, what’s this big assignment I’m supposed to be on while I’m at Uni?”

The man, his skin pale as wax, with green glowing eyes, shook his head.  “You’ll find out when ya get there, boy.”


 

 

Ok, guys.  I’ve been excited to get to this part.  For those who want to see Alduin’s adventures in Uni and to find out about this Agency of his, check out BrainofIvane’s The Chronicles of Clarke.  She and I have had a tremendous blast collaborating on our now shared world.  I highly recommend you read from the beginning, but if you absolutely don’t have the time, here’s the link to the first page Alduin shows up in. Are you a Werewolf?.  Again, highly recommend reading from the beginning ^^

A Headline from the Bridgeport Journal