It was a long walk to the time train. What a funny thought, a time train. It was exactly as it sounded, a train that traveled through time. It was a safer alternative than the time portal because only the guardians had access to it, and a select few others. Lucas and Xepher being two of them. If you had asked Lucas 200 years ago about a time train, he’d laugh in your face. But, then it was a simpler time. No one had known what the future would entail, and no one had showed any intense passion of knowing just how life would be like in 100, 1000, even 1,000,000 years. But, suddenly, a pink haired girl stumbled upon a time portal and everything began to change. Lucas couldn’t help but wonder, if it weren’t for Athena Gray, would the guardians have gotten this bad? Would they have just chosen another family to manipulate, or would they drop off the face of the earth, forgotten like some old newspaper headlines? Sighing to himself, Lucas leaned against the glass of the train stop. He was tired, exhausted, running out of ideas. He hadn’t felt so strongly about another situation in his entire life. Every time he looked at Alistair, he saw Ethan’s face. The guilt would creep up inside of him and he’d withdraw into himself. He wouldn’t eat, sleep or do anything productive in the first few months that Ethan had run away. There was so much that he wanted Ethan to know, so much that his son needed to hear. He wasn’t angry at Ethan, he was angry at Rickie. Lucas wanted his son to know that. He felt like there was so much more he could have done for Ethan. If only he had been focused on the needs of his son, and listened rather than instructed, Ethan wouldn’t have had to turn to Rickie. Lucas would take care of Alistair, and do whatever it took to make it up to his son. Alistair was Ethan’s spitting image, and Lucas thought that his coming was a redemption for him. To be a better person, mage and grandfather. But, so far he was failing. He couldn’t even get the guardians to give him the time of day, and he really didn’t want to have to turn to Mason. That man was dangerous, psychotic and even in some cases, lethal.
“Lucas, can we speak for a moment?” He didn’t have to turn around to know where that voice was coming from. Emit Relvart, the Time Traveler himself.
“What is it that you want?” Lucas let out a small sigh and ran his fingers through his long hair. “I have to go, there’s a train that I must catch.”
“I think you’ll want to hear this information.” Emit sat down on the bench and crossed one leg over the other, getting comfortable, as if he planned on being there for a while. “I can’t say much because my contract with Angel binds me, but I can give you some subtle hints, and some useful information.”
“Subtle hints about what?” Lucas’ ears perked up but he remained in the same position, not wanting to seem too eager. “Information that will lead us even further in time?”
“He’s my family too you know,” Emit said finally. “Alistair is my great grandson. I’m the reason that he’s a time distorter. I shouldn’t have had a relationship with someone from the past. My genes weren’t created yet in her time period but we still mated. I fear that my mistake is what caused the rift in time. Mason is a powerful time traveler, but his ability wasn’t that refined yet. Though he isn’t making things any better, I caused the time rift, not him. Genetic defects seemed to have skipped two generations, but Alistair, being a witch and created artificially, couldn’t escape the inevitable fate. I’m sorry for that.”
Finally, Lucas sat down. “You’re the reason for this entire mess? Because you, the one who is supposed to maintain the timeline, couldn’t keep it in his pants?”
“Listen to me Lucas, I really was in love with Cora. I had no idea that when we made love, she’d produce offspring. How was I supposed to know? I thought we were playing it safe. I knew it was wrong to love someone from the past, and I was willing to give up everything for her, but the guardians had sucked me back in. They were already experiencing the backlash in the future and had already formed a strong allegiance. It’s a complicated mess with time traveling, but the point is that I would have given anything up to be with Cora.”
“Cora Lyons?” Lucas frowned. “That woman is a demon. She can not be trusted, and has had no problem leading Alistair to his demise. She’s tried to do the same thing to your grandson, Apollo.”
“That isn’t Cora, at least the Cora that I knew. I don’t know what happened to her, but she’s a venomous creature now. I suspect Damian had everything to do with it. The guardians have blocked that part of the timeline from my vision. I cannot see what caused Cora to change so heinously because they know that I’ll go back and right the wrong. But, there is no other culprit than Damian who would capitalize on a human’s desperation. He feeds on the vulnerable whose hearts have been broken, willing to do anything to have their feelings mended. Like Cora, and Tommy Bryson.” Emit looked at Lucas seriously. “I can’t change the time to stop Alistair’s children from being born. As I said before, something big is going to be happening in the next generation, and only a vampire will be able to stop it. But, I can give you the next best thing. Something that will calm down Alistair’s time distortions. Once Alistair is in a stable state of mind, he’ll be able to live normally. It’s why he hasn’t shown any signs of doing it before. The one thing pressing on his mind now, that allowed both Mason and Aria to capitalize on his brain power, is his siblings. He cannot be calm until he finds them.”
“I already know where they are,” Lucas countered. “It’s a matter of getting Pepper to agree to go with Alistair, and finding a way to get there.”
“You can only gain entrance to Imaginationland if you have an imaginary friend that you are linked to, willing to open the passageway for you. Alistair’s link with Pepper has long since been destroyed. When a child grows up, they have two choices, to keep their imaginary friend as they are and forget them or bring them to life. When you forget about an imaginary friend it causes serious psychological trauma to them. They try to recreate the bond as best as they can, and it then becomes a matter of who brought them to life. Hence, David’s undying allegiance to Damian Woods. Pepper is now linked to Cora.”
“To Cora?” Lucas rubbed his temple. “I have a feeling that she isn’t going to come so easily with us to Imaginationland.”
“She will stop you in every way that she can,” Emit said. “I can’t be sure, but theres a good chance that its to spite me. If that is truly the case, we only have one other option. Bonds cannot be recreated, even in love. When an imaginary friend is bonded, it’s for life, or until they are forgotten. The only other thing you can do is use somebody else who is bonded to their imaginary friend to go in and get the job done. There is one person that I have in mind that can manipulate the passageway so that Alistair can enter as well. Calling for his help will be dangerous, no…it’s deadly. Someone will have to give up their life for this to work. If you’re willing to go this far for Alistair, than I shall tell you what you have to do.”
Lucas moved to speak but Emit held his hand up. “This is an EXTREMELY risky procedure and before I put any ideas in your head, I must know, why do you care so much about Alistair? Someone you have only known for a year. Why is helping him so important to you? If it is only because you feel like you owe Ethan something, than I cannot help you. Alistair is not a consolation prize, he is the grand prize. You should be helping him because you want what’s best for him. You should do what a good grandfather would do. Something that I neglected to do.”
“You did what you had to do,” Lucas said softly. “I don’t know why someone as powerful as you chooses to stay with Angel and the guardians, but what you failed to do for Noah was not your intention. You were keeping your distance to protect them, weren’t you? I watched Apollo for years when he was with Ethan, and he turned out to be a fine gentleman. You cluld have done more to be in their lives, but frankly, so could I. The only thing that matters now is that you recognize the mistake. Alistair is a child that I had wanted nothing to do with. My compassion towards him is partly because of my guilt towards Ethan, but also because he reminds me of my son so much. He has the level headed thinking of your grandson and the fiery passion of my son. Quite the combination, if you ask me. I know that he’ll be a fine man as he grows older, in fact I’m seeing it already now. That’s why I want what’s best for him. I want the distortions to stop, I want him to live the normal life that he deserves. This nonsense with the guardians has to stop. The ends do not justify the means, Emit. Think about whats best for our families. Is Oasis Landing more important than the Grays?”
It seemed like an eternity before Emit spoke again. He rythmically tapped his fingers against the bench they sat on. “I promise you that I have the Gray’s best interest in mind. With Athena and Noah, it was different. I wasn’t attached to them, not by blood, not by anything. What I did was for the guardians and I admit that. But I tried to deter the guardians as best as I could with Apollo, for my daughter’s sake. Now, I’m helping Alistair because he’s my great grandson and I want him to live a long and prosperous life.” Emit looked up at Lucas, wanting to say something else, but stopping himself. “Maybe one day I’ll tell you more, but for now, I must be quick before Angel gets suspicious. There is one way to get to imaginationland that I know of. It’s to bring Ethan back to life.”
Lucas’ eyes grew wide. “You know I can’t do that, as much as I want to. If resurrection seemed like a possibility, I would have brought Dax back to life years ago. My power is dwindling, and I haven’t taught Declan all that he needs to know yet to fully step up as the keeper of magic. If I bring Ethan to life, I’ll die and I can’t leave Moonlight Falls under Damian’s total control. Xepher isn’t strong enough to maintain the peace on his own. Besides, that would mean to reconnect Ethan with Rickie and nobody needs that kind of poison.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to be the one to preform the spell. You have an immense responsibility. But, there’s only one other mage who can actually exact the spell with enough precision to cause Ethan no harm. That mage is Declan.”
“Absolutely not!” Lucas put his foot down. “I will not put him in that position. Declan is like a son to me. I will not allow him to be hurt for something so futile. Not only that, but if Declan dies, who will take over?” Emit stared at Lucas expectantly. There was only one other person who Lucas would trust to take his spot. “Alistair? No! Have you forgotten everything that we just spoke about? I want Alistair to live a normal life. That isn’t in Moonlight Falls.”
“He will never live a normal life, he’s a Gray. There is no other way to get to Imaginationland and keep the portal open for another person. Ethan is the only person capable of it. He had been working secretely to obtain this power in case something like this happened. He just didn’t anticipate dying so early. Unfortunately, thats how the world works sometimes.” Lucas stood up, but Emit grabbed his arm. “There is one other way. It wouldn’t kill Declan, but…” he paused for a moment. “It still wouldn’t yield the results you’re looking for. It involves concentrating his power into keeping Ethan alive. Once his magic runs out, Ethan will die and Declan will no longer be a mage. It’s risky, any other mage would only be able to keep someone alive for a few minutes before their magic was completely drained. I think Declan can last a few days.”
“There’s a reason that we don’t do that anymore,” Lucas said coldly. “Declan would become an outcast. He’d have no spot left in Moonlight Falls. Unfortunately, the majority of us supernaturals don’t take too kindly to humans. Declan would have to leave, and Alistair would have to stay…No.” He crossed his arms over his chest. He was losing his power, it tended to happen when you lived for a really long time. It was a way of letting a mage know that they’d run their course. Not all mages got to be immortal, only the keeper of magic. He was training Declan so hard because Lucas had no choice but to step down. He had no time to train someone else. Even if he did, he’d never give it to anyone but Declan. He trusted him completely.
Emit stood up to leave. “All I can do is give you the information. What you do is your own perogative. But I advise you to give Declan the choice. You can’t protect him if it’s what he wants to do.” Lucas watched the blue haired man leave. Slumping down back onto the bench, Lucas let out a long sigh. Declan would be mad if he wasn’t told, but Lucas doubted that he’d make such a sacrifice anyway. Lucas decided not to skirt the issue. Lying always seemed to cause trouble.
“Well hello there darling.” Declan held Charlotte in the air.
“Woah, Declan…you have a heart. Who would have known?” I smirked as I watched him cradle my child. My child. It was such a foreign concept. That was my child in this man’s arm. The man who, just a few months ago, wanted to tear my head off my shoulders. I touched Declan’s shoulder lightly. “How is Sienna holding up?”
“She broke down after you left the room. Granted, she lost Patrick. How do you expect her to be feeling?” He frowned. “She really loved him, Al.”
“I know,” I said quietly. “And this is my fault.”
“It isn’t,” Declan said strictly. “Don’t play that role. You’re not the villain. Aria is. So stop it. Sienna wants to be a lone for awhile, so give her some time to cope.” He placed Charlotte back in her crib and turned to me. “What about you? You seemed pretty shaken up when I walked in. What did Pepper say to you?”
“Nothing,” I murmured.
“It’s not nothing. Listen, you need to be honest with me. I’m here to help you. I can’t help you if you hold everything in. I promise we’ll get through this and sort everything out.”
“Fine.” I leaned against the nearest wall, studying him with my eyes. He seemed relaxed. He was holding everything together despite everything that was falling apart around him. “Pepper and I kissed during that time gap that we can’t remember. It shouldn’t bother me that much, but it does. She’s hiding something from me, and I feel like it’s important. Oh, and Mason is involved.”
“You think that kiss means something more than what it seems?” Declan asked.
“I don’t know.” I ran my fingers through my messy hair. “I thought that it was because I’m still in love with Madelynn, but there’s still this nagging feeling in my gut.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Declan coaxed. “I’m sure it’s nothing. By the way, who is Mason, and why is it important that he’s involved?”
“Mason is only the most destructive force in my family’s life. My great grandmother chose to marry his brother over him, and now he wants to destroy us, or something like that. Nothing good can come out of anything that he’s involved with,” I said.
“You’ll have to tell me more, when everyone get’s all rested up.” Declan pointed to Sienna who trudged into the room with four sleeping bags in her arms.
“Sorry, this is what we have right now,” She apologized. I nodded my head in acknowledgement and watched the pink haired male leave the room.
Declan had taken the oppotunity to slip out of the room. He was aware of Alistair’s watchful eye on him. Declan was the oldest of the group, so everyone had always naturally looked up to him. He took his leadership role more seriously now because it was finally his chance to prove to Lucas that he could succeed him as the keeper of magic. He had to keep a watchful eye on Alistair. There was more than just Damian and Aria after him. There was Mason and the Guardians as well. He sipped his coffee carefully. How much longer would it be until things would go back to normal? For the first time today, Declan had been left to his own thoughts. His thoughts were racing. Patrick was dead. But, why would Damian have taken his body, unless he planned on using it somehow? It was strange, but that was the Headmaster for you. Miles and Kat had been captured and Hayden and Robin fled…. Why had the powerful vampire left Sienna here by herself? It didn’t make any sense. He’d take Alistair and the kids and leave first thing in the morning, just to be safe. Sienna and Pepper could come if they wished. But his plan couldn’t depend on them. There were too many loose ends and Declan was sure that Damian was planning something huge.
“Declan?” He tried to block out the voice that had been whirling around his mind for a while now. It had started when Alistair first landed in Moonlight Falls. Usually he was strong enough to diminish the voice, but ever since the time distortion, he couldn’t fight it. He tried his hardest to ignore it. “Declan, don’t ignore me. I’m wasting a lot of power to reach you like this. Just listen to me.” He shook his head, refusing to speak and risk the chance of waking anyone up. “You know why I’m here, don’t you? I promised that I’d come back for us, remember? To protect us. I’m back, and I’m ready to help. Please let me.”
“Altiere, stop it…” Declan whispered. “You’re the reason that Alistair is in this mess in the first place.”
“Me? No, it stretches much farther than that. Serves those idiots right for thinking that I’m dead anyway. I’m alive for millions of years and they think that burning me at the stake is going to stop me. Yeah right, that Damian has something else coming to him, oh and his daughter too. How dare she call me her lover. That little wench is not even my type. She’s too narrow, if you catch my drift,” The voice continued.
“Enough,” Declan said through gritted teeth. “I told you that I wanted nothing to do with you anymore.”
“Why do you think you feel so strongly towards Alistair?” The voice seemed playful. “They weren’t lying when they said some of me was mixed into his genes. I’m the source of his power. How else would they be able to manufacture a witch? Pathetic, I helped create some kind of hybrid breed like him, and look you like him better than me.”
“Leave me alone,” Declan repeated.
“I’ll keep bothering you until you keep your end of the bargain. I promised to protect us and I’ll do that, but I don’t like Alistair. On the account of the fact that I heard he and that orange girl kissed…I think we should play matchmaker. Get them together, have them leave Moonlight Falls, and then…I can show myself again. I’ve been honing my skills. I’m pretty confident that I can destroy Damian this time for taking what was rightfully mine. Oh, and of course seeing your sparkling face again.”
“We’re not doing this anymore. You can’t suck me back in,” Declan muttered. He straightened himself out as he heard loud footsteps on the staircase behind him.
“You coming to bed?” Declan turned to face Alistair. “Wait, not like that-” The brunette scratched his cheek. “Sienna set up the sleeping bags so I was just checking when you were coming upstairs because I don’t want to risk waking the girls. We don’t need two babies crying and waking everyone up.”
Declan nodded. The voice was finally gone, at least for now. He followed Alistair quietly, wondering what he’d have to do to truly get rid of Altiere.