A/N: I plan to finish this story before time itself comes to an end. And I will finish it, I swear it. It's getting closer to the end now, I know. I already kinda have an idea on how the final chapter is going to go and I think it's going to be only a few more chapters (like less than fifteen, I think). It's been a long ass ride my people, but this will finally be coming to an end. A big shoutout to HubrisP has been amazing and has given me amazing ideas for this monster. And also to everyone who's been here since the begin. Like you guys are amazing. I'll be sure to be thanking everyone properly at the end of this, but I see y'all and I appreciate y'all so effing much!
Some may have noticed that I edited chapters 74 - 76 and I think with the edit of 77 I made Edward's reaction a little more believable, unlike the last time which was yikes all around. I like the edited version a lot more. So yeah... Like don't worry about rereading if you don't wanna coz tbh not much was changed in 74 and 75. Anyway!
Assume that a bit of time has passed since the last chapter and that a whole lot of some really good stuff has been going on in someone's dreams although nobody really remembers said dreams. (This is me hinting without spoiling although you probably already know what I mean and where this is headed *LOL*)
I've decided to skip the shout-outs for now because of time, but I promise I'll try and respond to all questions within the story, and if not then I'll hopefully be able to supply you with satisfying answers at some point soon.
No New Warnings
Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyers and Co. own the characters. I own the idea for this story but am not in the slightest bit getting paid for it, so you know: no suing and all that.
Then They Fell In Love: There Are Too Many Holes In This Story
Phoenix woke to the feel of a cool body pressed tightly against him, the skin at the bar of his neck stinging almost uncomfortably. For a moment he was confused, unsure where he was, he even tightened up to fight, not remembering much. He then felt the cool body move, and a slim fingered hand teased against his abs, the scent of earth and something else filling his nose. He felt hair tickling at his nose and opened his eyes to copper hair right by his face. He relaxed, but only slightly.
"Are you awake?" a gentle voice asked. There was no point in lying about it, of course Rover already knew that he was awake, he probably heard the change in Phoenix's heartbeat.
"Yes," Phoenix replied, and then after a beat asked, "Did you bite me?"
Rover snorted and shuffled slightly, not uncomfortably, not a move made out of guilt, but a move made to get closer. "No," the other man replied, curling himself a little more into Phoenix.
"Okay." Phoenix didn't want to question it too much, it would only raise more questions from Rover and Phoenix didn't have any answers for what was going on with him currently—which he could only explain as too much weirdness.
Phoenix drew himself away from Rover, just enough so he could sit up. He looked around the room he was in—big, fancy, a bit over the top for his taste, warm and smelling like fresh flowers. He didn't smell damp, didn't feel cold; didn't smell wet Earth except for Rover's own natural scent. Phoenix frowned, wondering why he'd expected that instead of this. He'd had this feeling for weeks now, feeling as though he should wake up in a damp, cold cave instead of a cosy and warm bedroom.
"You were muttering in your sleep," Rover said, shuffling only slightly away from Phoenix, looking at him with curious eyes. "Couldn't quiet catch the words, but you seemed to be having a good time." The pale man grinned suggestively. "You know what it was about?"
Phoenix thought about it, the dream, but nothing came up. He hit a fresh blank. He couldn't even remember having dreamt anything at all. If Rover hadn't just mentioned that he'd been muttering in his sleep, Phoenix would've assumed that he hadn't dreamt anything at all. Strange, he thought to himself, very strange.
"Anyway!" Rover said, hopping off the bed and stretching. He was naked, his slim body shimmering beautifully in the pale light streaming into the room from outside. "Are you hungry? Cassandra made breakfast and she's been sitting all by her lonesome for hours."
Phoenix looked up at Rover. The other man was smiling, the lewd smile on his face only stretching wider at catching Phoenix looking. Phoenix smiled too, though nothing suggestive, just a simple smile, friendly, if anything. He got out of bed himself, not bothering to grab a hold of the thin sheet that had kept some of his modesty. He knew he looked good, there was no reason for him to feel embarrassed about it either. Rover made a sound but neither of them pursued anything more. Phoenix, though he wouldn't say it, wasn't in any particular mood for anything sexual at that moment, he just wanted a nice long shower.
After a moment of silence, Rover said, "I'll go warm up our breakfast, yeah?"
Phoenix only nodded as he strutted to their en-suite and got the shower going, making sure that the water was at the right temperature. He got inside and let the water cascade down his body. After too long he grabbed at the bottle of body wash and poured a generous amount onto his hand before rubbing them together and lathering it all over his chest and abs. He moved to his neck, rubbing his soapy hands against it. He hissed slightly when he felt the sting, and then frowned.
It hurt, a lot more than usual. So much so that Phoenix was almost certain that there'd be a mark there, some kind of bruise.
He rinsed his body off quickly and hopped out the shower to get to the mirror. He wiped away the fog, clearing the mirror and titled his head. He poked at his neck until he reached a part of it that seemed tenderer than the rest of his neck, slight pain shooting from the place where he pressed his fingers.
There was no mark, nothing to indicate he'd gotten hurt or something, but the area still hurt when he touched it, still felt tender, as though he'd only just recently been hurt.
Phoenix frowned, touching the area and staring at it a bit more. No mark at all, not even a shadow of it. It just hurt, but there was nothing more to it. It had been like that before too. He'd felt the sting, two days ago, but it had healed, stopped hurting. He hadn't thought much about it then either, hadn't thought it was serious. But it had happened again, someone had bitten him or something. It felt about right to be a bite mark. But how did he get it? How did it keep hurting but not show any bruising? Wasn't there supposed to be bruising or something, just to show.
When no answers immediately popped up, Phoenix sighed and stepped back into the shower. He shook head, deciding to just pretend it wasn't there. He'd been doing that for a while now anyway, it wasn't like it'd change. It hurt a little more than before, sure, but he could still ignore it, still pretend that he wasn't waking up with bite sized stings on his neck.
He'd wanted to ask River about it before, especially the first few times he'd woken with the pain, but had thought better of it, figured he was better off not mentioning it to anyone. There was a lot he wanted to ask Rover that he always decided not to.
He washed the rest of his body, skipping the stinging part of his neck. When he was done, he shut off the water and stepped out, grabbing a big, fluffy towel hanging on a hook beside the shower. He wiped himself off, doing an amazingly good job of not thinking about the tender area on his neck. He couldn't think of why it hurt, he hadn't actually done anything with Rover since he woke up from his coma. Rover kept hinting of course, kept touching and looking suggestively, but Phoenix just wasn't in it at the moment. Rover didn't seem to mind it so far, but Phoenix wondered how long the other man's patience would last.
Phoenix wrapped his towel around himself and stepped out the bathroom and back into his room. He went to the walk in closet and straight his jeans, all hanging in colour coordination from darkest shade to lightest—Rover was very pernickety about things like this, he spent hours at a time rearranging the closet to fit whatever mood he was in; Phoenix had learned not to ask.
He pulled some clothes on, a pair of dark jeans from a hanger and a black t-shirt from a drawer. Most of his clothes were different shades of the same colour now. He seemed to be really into black lately—to match his soul, he'd joke if he felt that Rover would get the joke, but he wasn't entirely sure about it. Rover got jumpy at some jokes, didn't understand them quite as much as Phoenix expected him to. It was weird in a way Phoenix couldn't understand.
At the centre of the closet was a glass table where accessories of all sorts sat. Phoenix ruffled through it for a moment until he found a thin stretchy band that he used to tie his hair up. Rover had mentioned how sexy he found it and Phoenix figure that if they weren't having sex any time soon then he may as well find other ways to satisfy his boyfriend.
When dressed and the towel thrown in the laundry basket in the bathroom, Phoenix decided to head to the kitchen. He could hear Cassandra and Rover whispering to one another. Phoenix didn't know how he felt about that, he always felt like his boyfriend and his boyfriend's sister were whispering about him. It was not unfounded though, he still didn't remember anything, not Rover, nor Cassandra, nor anything involving a relationship with either. Cassandra had said it shouldn't be long before his memories returned, but it had been almost a month and still nothing had happened.
All he had were more questions than answers and more often than not he felt like he couldn't ask the questions he had, felt like it would be revealing too much of himself that he didn't want revealed. He'd stopped wondering why he didn't trust his boyfriend, or his boyfriend's sister with his questions, it only stressed him out.
When Rover and Cassandra saw Phoenix walk in, they didn't so much stop talking, but changed topic. While they'd most likely been whispering about him, they now spoke loudly about the advantages and disadvantages of eating dried fruit, the pair of them laughing about it. They were good at keeping their secrets; Phoenix had learned that through the weeks, very good at pretending that they weren't whispering, pretending that they weren't bothered by anything. It was uncomfortable.
"G'morning, Phoenix," Cassandra greeted in a pleasant tone, smiling at him. Her smile was neither happy nor sad, she kept her face carefully neutral of any emotion either than friendly pleasantness.
Phoenix nodded his head and sat down beside his boyfriend who instantly curled himself around him. Rover was like an octopus when he wanted to be, wrapping himself around Phoenix tightly, like afraid he'd lose him. Maybe, thought Phoenix while picking at the fresh fruits in his bowl, Rover did know about what happened between him and Cassandra but didn't want to confront the pair. Maybe things were better left unsaid. It would be less hurtful that way. And besides, Phoenix didn't remember anything, so even if Rover did confront them, what could Phoenix possible say about what happened? How could he possibly know what motivated him to fall into Cassandra's bed?
He wondered, of course he did, when he'd look at Rover or at Cassandra. He'd ask himself what it was that made him turn to Cassandra. Was it relationship troubles? Was it just him being an asshole? What could possibly have made him think starting a relationship with his boyfriend's sister was a good idea? He didn't have answers though, just guesses that he could never confirm because Cassandra wouldn't talk to him in private and he didn't have the heart to ask Rover. It was better left unsaid, he figured.
Phoenix ate his breakfast silently while the siblings spoke. They mentioned their older brother a few times, Phoenix remembered the guy vaguely; from that first time he'd woken from his whatever. Charles hadn't stayed long enough for Phoenix to remember much of him. He'd only been there to see if Phoenix was awake and then disappeared. Phoenix wouldn't say he missed the guy; Charles had given off some really bad vibes.
Now he was mostly stuck with Rover and Cassandra. The woman still refused to be left alone in the room with Phoenix, as if he'd jump her at the first moment he got. He wasn't there with her, couldn't even remember ever being there with her. She was beautiful, of course, but Phoenix just couldn't imagine himself as someone who'd cheat on someone else, it just really didn't seem like him. But he couldn't remember, so he couldn't say. He just had to take Cassandra's word. Even if he didn't trust much of anything these days, he still trusted the girl more than her brother, which was saying something.
With breakfast washed down with Cassandra's horrific coffee—Phoenix never complained about it tasting like dirt and iron because she was nice enough to make him anything at all—the man left the kitchen and headed for the library to find something to read before heading down to the beach.
There weren't many books that he could actually read, but he did spend most of the time just paging through books with pictures of grotesque looking monsters and twisted trees with names Phoenix had neither heard nor could pronounce. The books belonged mostly to Cassandra, she was, as he'd learned, quite a powerful Witch. Rover said she was the most powerful Witch he had ever known, and Phoenix wasn't sure, but he thought he sensed envy each time his boyfriend would say the words, as though he wished it were him who were the most powerful rather than his younger sibling. Phoenix pretended not to notice, he pretended not to notice a lot of things.
Phoenix picked a book that was on one of the higher shelves that he didn't normally go for. It was an old book, the pages browned by age, though the words were still dark, though it looked as though they'd started to fade but someone traced over them to make the words darker once more. It was written in a language that could be older than time, most of it symbols Phoenix had never seen before, but there were a lot of pictures in it, and that would work just fine for Phoenix.
It did make him feel like an idiot though, never being able to read the words, just paging through the books and looking through the pictures like a three year old. But it was better than sitting around with Rover trying to make conversation and pretend that he couldn't tell that Rover wanted them to do more than talk, with less to no clothes on, or watch Cassandra dodging him as though he were a virus. Sitting at the private beach and paging through books he couldn't even read was a better alternative, by far.
When he'd picked his book, Phoenix left the library through the glass door there that faced the vast and clear ocean. It was the best exit, both because he didn't have to go past Cassandra and Rover and answer uncomfortable questions, and because it led him straight to the beach that was occupied by no one but himself and nature. It was the furthest door from the kitchen and living room doors, a great advantage.
He had a special place, by some trees a bit of a distance away from the house. He liked the place, it was quiet there and nobody could see him from the house. Nobody bothered him there either, and that suited Phoenix just fine. He had a cooler box at his spot, where he kept a towel to sit on and bottles of water. There were also protein bars and packets of chips that he kept there too. He was running low on those supplies and he knew he'd need to come back with more food later. But luckily it would last him an afternoon.
When he reached his little alcove of trees, Phoenix opened his cooler box and pulled out the thick, almost too large towel. It was dull pink, an accident from when he'd tried to help with the washing—because for some reason he'd been more than certain that he was good at it, that he did it all the time. Cassandra hadn't been mad about it, thankfully, but he hadn't tried to do washing again.
When the towel was down, Phoenix dropped the book and then himself on it. He grabbed the book again once settles and placed it on his lap, flipping it open and looking through the pictures. There was one picture of something that looked like a little man, furry but human looking and twisted in an uncomfortable way, his long sharp teeth dripping with blood.
Phoenix pulled a face at the image before continuing to flip through the book. There were more pictures of ugly little creatures and things that looked like people but weren't really. Phoenix wondered, not for the first time, if all these things were real. He already knew of Witches and Vampires and whatever the hell he was supposed to be—which definitely wasn't completely Human—but he wondered about other things too. Were wandigos real, what about elves and selkies and incubi? Were they all real?
The man shook his head. He didn't really want to think about it, the vastness of the world and how there was so little that he knew. He didn't know anything if he was being honest, all he knew was what he'd been told by Rover and Cassandra. That, in itself, was a problem. He should've been asking more, trying to learn more, especially about his past, but he avoided it, preferred not to ask because he was afraid. Of what?
The lies, his mind would always so helpfully supply. Of what fresh lies he'd hear from Rover and Cassandra, of the half truths. He didn't want that. He didn't want to ask a question, watch the way Rover's face would look before he said something, something Phoenix would be more than certain wasn't the truth or was half of it. Phoenix couldn't deal with that.
He continued to flip through the book, his fingers tracing at some of the more bizarre looking creatures, trying to read the names of them but unable to. They weren't in English, not in any language he could recognize. He didn't mostly care though, he didn't really want to know what people believed existed and what they didn't.
He paused somewhere in the middl of the book, finding an image of a man, very Human looking, dressed in nothing but three quarter pants and a wolf pelt. Beside the man was an image of a Wolf. It was huge, not like the normal kind, the head of the Wolf passing the man's head. For a moment Phoenix was confused, the name written down was one he was not used to seeing anywhere—превръщач (prevrŭshtach). Phoenix couldn't even begin trying to figure the word out. But he couldn't stop staring at it, at the wolf pelt around the man's neck, the Wolf standing beside him, as big as a horse. He traced a finger over the word, over the man's face, the Wolf's.
There were more words written in the same language, seven whole paragraphs dedicated to the image of the man in the wolf pelt and the large Wolf. What were they saying, those words? Most pictures had at least a paragraph, maybe two, a few even got three, but seven whole paragraphs? Why, was the man in the pelt so important that he and the horse sized Wolf got seven whole paragraphs?
When no answers immediately jumped out of his mind, Phoenix reluctantly let it go and continued to page through the rest of the book, seeing other images, one of which was an Asian man standing beside a taller, humanoid fox. There was a large red cross on the top of the page and he was given four paragraphs, the last of which was written in a different language, looking almost angry. Phoenix traced the image of the humanoid fox before flipping to the next page.
He went on after a while, flipping through the book and looking at the images, squinting at the writing, the paragraphs dedicated to each creature. He wondered, not for the first time since he'd been 'reading' Cassandra's books, if she and her brothers had met all these creatures, or if they'd only met some. For some reason he didn't think it was unrealistic for them to not have met them. That seemed more realistic than any other option.
Phoenix finally reached the end of the book, ending with the image of a little man with rotting teeth and ugly skin, dancing around a bowl of some kind of food. He spend only a moment looking to the name of the little man but didn't try to figure out what the word was or what language it came from. Instead Phoenix paged back to the drawing of the man and the Wolf. He stared at it, for so long without blinking that his eyes began to ache and burn. But still he stared, at the words, the paragraphs, the image of the large Wolf. He felt like he should know something, felt as though there was something missing, but he couldn't place it. There was more, his brain kept saying, so much more. But he couldn't place it, couldn't figure it out so eventually, when he knew there was no way he was going to put things together, he shut the book and pushed it to the side.
With a sigh, Phoenix dropped back onto the towel and placed his hands under his head, looking up at the sky. The sun was still up but not as bright. It was warm though, in the best kind of way. It was always warm and sunny here and sometimes Phoenix thought it was a bit over the top, feeling like he was accustomed to a different kind of weather. He didn't ask about it, mostly avoided the weather conversation if he could—it was a shit conversation with anyone if he was being honest.
Phoenix shut his eyes, letting out a deep breath. The warmth of the sun and the ebb and flow of the ocean were calming, slowly and gently lulling Phoenix to sleep. He didn't try to fight it, the drowsiness, he never tried to fight sleep from this spot, and soon he was lost to the world, escaping its troubles to one he could at least try to control.
He was dreaming. He didn't have to try too hard to figure it out because he knew without a doubt that he was dreaming. He didn't know exactly how he knew, but he did.
He found himself standing in the middle of a deserted road, trees shooting up high into the sky on either side of the road. He was completely alone except for the sound of nature all around him, the birds singing and other woodland creatures moving about. He could hear them, his acute sense of hearing allowing him to hear a little more than the average Human could.
He was angry, hands clenching and unclenching into fists. His body vibrated with unspent anger and he wanted more than anything to crawl out of the Human skin that bound him wanted to be released from the binds of his two legs, move into four and become one with the nature that sounded around him. He wanted to lose himself on four legs, become more than just this Human flash, more than just this Human skin.
He didn't move from where he stood, clenching, unclenching, clenching, unclenching his fist, anger making his body shake. He sucked in a deep breath when he saw a car cruising towards him. He stood up straighter, the anger seeming to grow within him. He didn't move from where he stood, at the centre of the road.
The grey car, for a moment, seemed as though it wouldn't stop, but it did, swirling gently to the side of the road and stopping in a smooth a sudden motion. He moved, disappearing into the forest but not going too far, wanting the girl to be able to reach him too. His body was still shaking, unable to let him stand within the forest completely still. He glared at the parked car, at the people within. He wanted them to get out the car, wanted to confront one of them, to scream and vent and spew hate at them. He wanted them to hurt and be angry, as he was.
The driver's door and passenger door opened and two people stepped out. In the dream he could clearly see the faces of the two people, a boy and a girl, both beautiful in different ways, but later, when he awake and aware he wouldn't be able to recall even a single characteristic from either person, the long dark hair of the girl's or the crazy tussle of the boys copper locks.
In the dream he watched the beautiful girl, looking at her delicate and soft face. She was beautiful and he knew that he loved her deeply. She looked at him nervously, turning her head to the beautiful boy. He didn't bother looking at the boy yet, just staring at the girl, drinking the sight of her in.
"I will never forgive you for what you did," he said through clenched teeth. He spoke to the boy, the source of his anger and frustration, even as he looked at the girl who his heart said he loved. "I will never forget."
"I'm grateful for what you did," the boy says, his voice smooth and calm. He's beautiful, inhumanly so. He's too flawless, even in the dream. "There is no way I could ever thank you enough."
"Let her go."
Things seemed to have change, as they did in dreams. The girl was no longer in the forest with them, and they too seemed to not be in the forest anymore. They were standing in the road now, where he'd been waiting before, the car parked behind the inhumanly beautiful boy.
"This is what I want," the girl's voice said from somewhere unseen. He looked to the boy, prepared to throw his hate at him, whether with words or action. His eyes locked with the other boy's, mouth prepared, body prepared, but he froze.
The boy, inhumanly beautiful, stared back, golden eyes seeming to shine under the glow of the dying sun. His skin, not a mark on it to disturb its perfection, seemed to shimmer, like diamonds, thousands of them and instead of repulsion; he seemed to feel drawn to the boy. He could feel something, deep in his heart, seeming to tether itself to the boy, to connect them in a way so deep it felt as though it would be unbreakable. His world seemed to both expand and contract all at once. It felt as though the earth was being ripped from under his feet, but he was being pulled back down by this boy, by this inhumanly beautiful boy.
Like gravity, pulling you down to earth.
His heart pounded, his body shook but this time for a completely different reason. He couldn't breathe, couldn't think.
My life, my heart, my love, my world; my life, my heart, my love; mylife, myheart, my love, myworld; mylifemyheartmylovemyworld.
Like gravity. Like gravity pulling you down to earth, keeping you grounded.
What was the word?
There was a word for that!
The dream changed in a completely different way, he was no longer in the street with the beautiful boy, but in bed. He felt weak. The boy had his arms wrapped around him, holding him tightly.
"You have to stay with her," he said to the boy whose name, in the dream, he remembered as Ed, but which would escape him completely when awake. "She needs you more than I do."
"You need me more than her," was Ed's simple reply. "I need you more than her."
He could feel Ed's cold hands carding through his hard gently, the boy humming some unfamiliar tune gently. He felt himself growing stronger without much work. He figured it was because it was a dream, because he could make anything happen in a dream.
But things changed just slightly because he wasn't lying in Ed's arms but lying above him, staring down at him as he moved within him. They were moving slowly, Ed gasping, head thrown back in pleasure. He looked beautiful like this, his skin shimmering the slightest bit from the light of the moon.
"Oh god, more," Ed gasped, legs wrapped tightly around his waist, hands pulling him down. "I love you," Ed gasped. He pressed his nose against Ed's neck, breathing him in, the smooth skin, smelling sweet, grounding him. He continued to move his hips, thrusting into Ed, slow and careful. "God, I love you so much."
"I love you too," he whispered, and he meant it too, could feel it deep inside his core, that he loved Ed, that Ed had become more than just his gravity, that it may have started that way but had changed, that it had become more than just the pull of— what was the word there was a word for it!
The dream shifted again and he was the one holding Ed. He felt sadness, deep in his gut and Ed was crying about something—no, someone.
"Why'd she die?" Ed cried, sobs rocking his body. "Why'd she have to die?"
"I don't know, Ed," he whispered, still holding him close. "I don't know. I'm so sorry, I don't know."
And then there was something in Ed's arms, a bundle wrapped up in blankets and he could feel pure joy in his heart and he couldn't stop looking at how beautiful Ed was, couldn't stop thinking about how amazing he was. He kept thanking Ed, feeling himself crying, looking at the bundle that turned into two bundles and then into one again. Ed, smiling at him, looking warn out and ready to sleep for the rest of eternity but smiling so brightly and so beautifully.
"I love you, Ed," he said, his lips pulled into a smile so wife he felt it would never be removed, "Thank you, I love you."
And then everything around him grew bigger and he was in a field somewhere, picking a purple flower and running to a woman, dressed in a floral dress, two plaits flowing from her head and down her back.
"Momma, look at this one!" he shouted, the flower held up as high as he could get it with his short arms.
The woman looked to him and smiled. She was beautiful and he knew she was his mother and he felt both happy and sad at seeing her. "It's beautiful, Cub."
"Momma, do you think Daddy will like it?" his face morphed into childish worry and the woman smiled.
"I know he will."
His smile returned and he nodded before handing the flower to his mother who added it to the collection in her basket.
There was a boy, pale skinned and copper haired, standing in the shadows of the tall trees that surrounded the clearing. His mother, who he knew was Sarah, looked up at the copper haired boy and smiled.
"Will you continue to hide there or will you join us?" she asked. The boy stepped closer, but immediately stopped, frowning and looking up towards the sky. "It's too beautiful a day to hide behind shadows, Vampire."
The boy's face morphed into a comical look of shock. He looked from the woman to her young son, who was still looking for flowers that would go in the collection his mother had. He kept his eyes on the boy, on the soft and chubby face. He touched at his heart, something softening on his face.
"My son," Sarah said.
The boy, who he knew was Ed, smiled, his face soft as he looked at the child, pulling gently at a flower.
"Momma, this one's for you," he said, holding the flower out to her. She took it, placed it against her nose and hummed, smiling.
"It's lovely, Cub."
The dream changed again and he was no longer a child, but grown again. There was a girl sitting on a large rock, humming a familiar tune as she swung her short legs and looked around her. She looked familiar, like he knew her from somewhere.
She turned to him and smiled. "I've been waiting for you," she said and then patted the rock beside her. He walked her and climbed onto the he rocks and seating himself beside her.
Her name was Sarah too, he remembered. He knew of her but never got to meet her, never got to hold her like he did the others. But he could hold her here, she was his daughter. Sarah-Elizabeth.
"Hi Papa," she said with a smile that looked like her daddy's.
"Sarah-Liz," he said slowly, voice slightly choked.
"You remember me."
"I do. But I didn't for a while."
She frowned. "They've got you in their control. She keeps feeding you his blood."
"The Firsts are sorry they couldn't come sooner. They've been trying but with that monsters blood in young system and his sisters Magick blocking them because of it, they haven't been able to come through."
"How are you here then?"
"I'm not as attached to your Alpha nature as they. I'm your daughter. Even if you hadn't become The True Alpha I'd still be your daughter."
Sarah-Liz smiled. She was in the body of a child but the look behind her eyes spoke of a different age, as though she was lifetimes older than she looked.
"What should I do?"
"Nothing yet. We're trying to work out a plan on how to get you out, but it needs a few more players. You don't have to worry about a thing though, we'll work everything out. You just hang tight Pops, we'll get you out."
"They think I'm dead, don't they?"
"It's better we keep it that way, just for now. Who knows what daddy will do if he found out you were alive."
"How much do you know about what's going on in the outside?"
Sarah-Liz shrugged. "They think you're dead, Pops."
"What about… What about Zeke Lux?"
"He'll have his uses in a while. The Firsts like to keep shit to themselves most of the time, you have issues with then about that, but when they need him I'm sure they'll reach out to him."
"They're trying to get to you, but it's hard. The Witch is strong, stronger than they thought. Moon and Mariana are trying to find a way to get to you, but so far nothing's been working. But we'll get it right eventually; I managed to get here, so."
"What about mom?"
"She's a strong spirit, Grandma is. She'll help a lot in the fight, we all will Pops. We'll get you out of this place, I promise."
"What can I do to help?"
"For now? Nothing much. Trust me, Pops, you'll need all your strength when you get out of here."
Thunder rumbled in the distance and angry, dark clouds seemed to emerge from nowhere. Sarah-Liz looked up and her face scrunched up.
"I have to go," she said, jumping off from the rock. "I think she's sensed me. I love you, Pops, I'll see you soon."
Things switched so quickly he felt himself drop onto the floor which turned out to be soft grass. He was staring up at the sky which was clear and bright, not a cloud in sight.
"Jacob," his mother's gentle voice called. He sat up and turned to look at her, smiling brightly when he saw her looking towards him. He jumped up with no coordination and ran towards his mother before dropping himself down on her lap. He touched her face with short, chubby hands. His mother seemed to glow in an angelic way under the sum. He did believe it, that his mother was an angel.
"Momma!" He continued to touch her face feeling her warm skin under his tiny hands. "My Momma!"
"And you are my Jacob." She wrapped herself around him and attacked his face with kisses. Jacob giggled and shrieked at the attacks but didn't try to move away. "My sweet Jacob," his mother said and pulled him close to her.
"Momma sing me my song, please. Please, Momma."
"You want to hear it?"
Jacob nodded, sitting up a little straight so he could hear the song better, watch as his mother sang it to him. "Pretty please," he said, giving her his best puppy dog eyes.
"Well who could say no to that face?" his mother joked before sitting up a little straighter herself, clearing her throat. She began with a hum; one Jacob had already heard before but couldn't place.
He could hear his mother singing, could hear the tune vibrating against his mother's chest, but he couldn't make out the words. Her voice was soft, gentle and lulling and he could feel himself growing heavy with asleep. He leaned closer to her, his eyes closing, his body sagging. His mother continued to sing, rocking gently; until he couldn't quiet hear his mother's voice.
"Jacob," his mother called gently, drawing Jacob back. "You have to wake up now, baby. It's time for you to wake up. You'll need to stay strong for us, Cub, we'll get you out, I promise."
"I don't wanna go, Momma," Jacob mumbled against his mother. "I wanna stay with you. Don't make me go."
"You have to, sweetheart. It's not going to be easy getting you back, but I promise that we will. I'll come back again, okay? I'll come back and I'll find you."
But he was no longer in his mother's lap but standing in the middle of the clearing, dark clouds having overtaken the sky and thick drops of rain falling down on him, not quiet soaking him in the way that rain shoulder. It wasn't cool either, if seemed to hurt, to burn, it was not like the rain he knew. He was taller now, older. Thunder crackled all around him and he couldn't seem to move.
"Wake up, Jacob," a voice screamed somewhere behind him. "Wake up! You have to, baby." It was his mother. "Wake up, Jacob! They're coming. Come on, baby, wake up, WAKE UP— —"
His eyes snapped open and his heart pumped fast. It took him a moment to remember where he was, who he was. He didn't sit up, stayed lying on his back as his body slowly relaxed itself, his heart slowing. He remembered a moment later, where he was, who he was, what the situation was: at an alcove of trees in a beach, Phoenix—no last name?—with no recollection of his past because of an accident. He didn't remember anything else.
Phoenix sighed, scrubbed at his face for a moment before shoving the hand under his head again. He shut his eyes once more but didn't let himself sleep. He wondered about his dream, about what exactly he'd dreamt—he couldn't actually remember anything, couldn't figure out why his heart was beating so fast, why he felt like he was missing something. What had woken him?
He kepr his eyes shut, taking deep breaths, trying to calm himself. He tried to the think about the dream, about what he'd seen, heard, felt, but there was nothing, like he hadn't dreamt at all. He knew he had, was certain he had, but he just couldn't, for the life of him, remember what it was he'd actually dreamt.
After a while of nothing more, Phoenix let it go. He figured that if it had been important he would've at least remembered some of it. It was probably just a nonsense dream, he had a list of those lately anyway, he was also glad it wasn't another sex dream involving Rover. He didn't have anything against Rover, the guy was good looking and his body was amazing, but he just wasn't there with Rover, he didn't think he'd ever be there with Rover.
Phoenix was two-thirds of the way to completely relaxed when he felt someone hover over him. For a moment he thought of just ignoring it, but the presence of whoever was hovering over him was strong and insistent. He knew it couldn't be Rover and it definitely wasn't Cassandra, which only left one other person. With a sigh, Phoenix opened his eyes and stared up at the man. He didn't need to shield his eyes because Charles and his dark presence were shielding the slowly setting sun from him.
"Hello, Phoenix," the man said, smiling at Phoenix with all teeth. He dripped creepiness from every pore and Phoenix wanted him gone. But he didn't ask because if he was being honest, he was curious to know why Charles would come all this way.
"Charles," Phoenix responded simply. He didn't sit up, continuing to look at the man from where he lay. Charles didn't change position either, hovering over Phoenix like the darkness he was.
"I hope my brother and sister have been behaving," Charles said. "Rover can be quiet eccentric in his ways."
"Is he?" Phoenix asked carefully.
"You should know, you're his lover." The word was said with an air of distaste and Phoenix couldn't help but wonder about that. "I would've thought you'd finally give up, move on to better things." He gave Phoenix a calculation look, as though trying to gouge his reaction to the comment. Phoenix didn't know what to think, but he wondered, if maybe, Charles knew about the Cassandra thing.
"I love Rover."
Charles tilted his head thoughtfully. "Is it?" he asked just when Phoenix was getting uncomfortable with the man's look and the silence surrounding them. "Of course!" Charles continued, not waiting for Phoenix to respond, not giving Phoenix an opening to lie. "Why wouldn't you love him?" Charles smiled again, all teeth and no mirth. He stared out at the ocean, eyes dark, flickering with something strange and dangerous. Phoenix wanted to look closer but couldn't bring himself to do it. He didn't want to deal with Charles, was happier when the man wasn't around.
Phoenix sat up and he too looked out at the ocean. He didn't turn to look at Charles, though the man's shadow felt heavy behind his back. After another long moment of silence, Charles sat down. He didn't bother trying to fit himself on the towel despite its size, just dropping down on the sand just an arm's length away from Phoenix. Phoenix threw a quick glance his way, surprise colouring him in an unusual way when he finally noticed that Charles was barefoot, dressed in a thin cotton shirt and khaki coloured plants—the man looked like he belonged in a villa, living the good life.
Charles sighed. "Do you remember the first time we met?" he asked. A completely random question that threw Phoenix for a moment. Charles didn't seem like the kind of man who'd reminisce about times past. His creep factor was so thick around him that he just seemed like a man who enjoyed watching people die as a pastime.
"No," Phoenix replied. "I don't remember much of anything."
Charles made a noncommittal sound before nodding his head. "Of course," he said again. "It was at a dance club, too young for me, but I was bored out of my mind that night, waiting on a business deal to come through."
"I used to go to dance clubs?" Phoenix wasn't kidding when he said he remembered nothing, he hadn't even known his own name when he'd woken.
"Yes." Charles frowned, turning to look at Phoenix for just a moment before turning back to look at the ocean. Phoenix found himself frowning. He didn't understand the look in Charles eyes, it had looked almost— almost sad. But Charles wasn't the kind of guy to get sad, Phoenix reminded himself, he was a man filled with evil and creepy ways. His whole aura screamed of danger, of evil. Charles was a nightmare of a man and the nicely carved face and body was only there to balance out the fact that inside he was nothing but malicious and vile—the evil guys were always pretty.
"I don't remember anything at all," Phoenix found himself saying. He wasn't sure why he'd just said that, as though Charles didn't already know.
"I'll never forget," Charles said finally, "especially those noises that you made when I finally got around to actually fucking you."
Charles turned and looked at Phoenix. There was an almost intense burning in his eyes, a deep longing. Phoenix couldn't look away, didn't know how to react, what to think. Did Charles mean to say that they'd… that he and Charles…
"You were so fucking beautiful that night," the man continued, turning back to the ocean, "riding me like you'd never get another chance. God, every time I think about it, think about you, like that, those sounds you made, the way you looked…."
Phoenix was floored, didn't know what to make of what he was hearing. What the hell was up with him and these people? Was he fucking all of them at one point? Heavens, he hoped to hell not! He didn't want to even think that Charles was telling the truth, the man didn't have a trustworthy aura.
But in a different setting—
Nope! Phoenix was stopping that line of thought immediately. He didn't trust Charles, why should he believe him? Charles just looked like a manipulative bastard, why wouldn't he lie about fucking Phoenix just to mess with his head. Phoenix didn't remember anything; it was common knowledge among them, why wouldn't Charles fabricate stories.
"You don't believe me." It wasn't a question but a simple statement. Charles was looking at Phoenix, eyes burning with that intensity and an underlying sadness that had Phoenix shifting uncomfortably.
"I don't know what to believe."
Charles shrugged. "You don't have to believe me. I remember what I remember and you remember nothing."
"Rover— —" Phoenix stopped because he wasn't exactly sure where he was going with that.
"Rover met you after, months after. You were back in town, didn't know that we were related. I was out of the country for months while you and Rover fell into things, got serious. It was shocking stuff, seeing you again, after months of nothing. It had been one night and I'd woken up the next morning and you were gone. You were an incredible fuck, I'll give you that, unforgettable, and I guess I was decent enough if it convinced you to do it again."
"I really don't know what your reason for staying with Rover is, to be honest. Same night we see each other again you slip out of his bed without much thought and crawl into mine, ride me half an inch to my life, and so easily slip back into Rover's bed, act like nothing happened, like you didn't just get your brains fucked out by his brother. And then I leave, come back to find that you had started a thing with Cassandra. That didn't last very long, but I think it was getting serious, a little too much for Cassandra's comfort so you both broke it off. I only found out because of the way she was looking at you. She's quiet transparent with her feelings, Cassie, that's her weakness.
"You stayed away from me too then, and I thought that maybe you'd finally gotten over whatever you had for me and that you and Rover finally had something solid going, that your thing with Cassandra pushed you in a better direction. I mean, there was even talks of an engagement from little Rover, I really thought your thing was going somewhere more solid. But then there you went again, crawling into my fucking bed, all loose and begging and ready and smelling so fucking good and I'm weak for you, and you know it. Jesus, Phi."
Phoenix felt funny, couldn't, for the life of him wrap his head around everything he was hearing. He couldn't think about what Charles was saying to him, couldn't really comprehend it. He didn't trust Charles, didn't trust him as far as he could throw him. Charles was a fucking enigma wrapped in dark stuff and Phoenix didn't think— no, he knew he wasn't into that. Rover bothered him a lot of the time because he was like that too, but Charles was the walking, talking, breathing personification of it. Phoenix wasn't into that. At all.
Charles's hand twitched on the towel, Phoenix didn't miss the subtl movement, it suddenly seems blatantly obvious. He stared at the hand, not sure what to think about it, how to emotionally feel about it. It felt burning hot, mere inches from Phoenix's thigh and he found himself thinking about the hand, how it would feel against his thigh, against his—
"I'll admit, I hate that you don't remember me, but I'm also glad for it. I love you, more than I care to admit sometimes, but I love my brother too. I can't stand him most of the time, and want to kill him almost all the time, but he's my kid brother and he loves you."
"I... I don't remember." Phoenix felt like an idiot, but at the same time he just couldn't think of anything else to say. He'd just found out he was a lying dirty cheater who'd cheated on Rover with not one but two of his siblings. Phoenix felt sick.
"Anyway," Charles said, smacking the towel before pulling away. "I should get going. I have a business call to make." He stood slowly and stretched. "I hope things between us are a lot better this time round. I imagine this is a second chance for you and Rover, and I certainly wouldn't want to be the reason for that second chance being ruined." Charles gave Phoenix one more look, one filled with something like longing and want, before heading back towards the house leaving Phoenix alone on the beach.
"What the fuck?" It was the only thing Phoenix could think to say because what more could he even say? Was he really who Charles painted him as, did he really cheat on Rover without thought? Was he really that kind of person?
He couldn't believe it, he just couldn't. Charles was lying, he had to be. There was no other way around it. Phoenix didn't trust Charles at all the man just screamed 'bad things'. No, Phoenix wasn't going to believe Charles, not now and not ever.
Okay, firstly, sorry for the dodginess of this chapter, I am getting back it not he groove of writing this story.. Also, y'all, something shocking happened while I was writing this chapter. I was stuck, okay, like I was there, at the metaphorical road block right. And then all of a sudden the stuff after the dream happened okay, and this shit was flowing, I didn't pause my writing for what felt like hours because this shit was just coming to me. like seriously y'all, my head was really into it and I was like hell mothereffing YAAAS! I don't ship Charles and Jacob in any way at all, but Charles and Phoenix? Whoooow boy, sign me the fuck up.
But before y'all freak out or something, nothing serious will develop. Charles is a manipulative bastard and he is still evil AF. But he's getting into Phoenix's head by pretending that they meant more to each other. Now Phoenix will be too worried about this love branch thing that's going on to trying and figure out his dreams. See? Manipulative bastard Charles…