With a huff, Alistair slammed his fist against the wooden door. “Alistair,” Ethan warned. “I’m not fixing that door if you break it.”
“I won’t break it,” He growled, slamming his fist into it again. Though his hand, he might have broken that if he kept it up.
“Did you think anything different would have happened, Al? You’re lucky he didn’t openly attack you.” Ethan crossed his arms over his chest. “So, the questions begs, why didn’t he?”
Alistair gritted his teeth in anger. “He said that I should grovel before him, for my people. I should do what I have to so that my people can survive.” He let out a breath, anger flowing through him. “Ahhh!” He punched the door once more, with enough force to splinter it.
“Okay, enough!” Ethan pulled him away from the door. “Don’t take your anger out on the front door.”
“Where should I take it out? His face?” Alistair’s entire body was shaking with anger. “He looked me in the eye and said all of those things. He brought Lucas into this! Who the hell does he think he is? He spent his whole life trying to usurp him and then has the nerve to say that me not accepting his resources wouldn’t be what my grandfather wanted!”
“I think you made the right call,” Ethan said softly. “Dad…Lucas, wouldn’t have wanted you to sell your people out.”
“I just…” Tears were falling from his eyes. “I wanted it to be different. I knew he wouldn’t apologize. But at least, if he was more freaking menacing today, I wouldn’t feel like total shit. He’s sending me mixed messages dad! Is he trying to help the people of Moonlight Falls, or is he just being a dick and toying with us?”
“I don’t know the answer to that, son. But something tells me you never will if you don’t get him to have a one on one conversation with you. He’d never admit anything in front of his subjects, the keepers no less.”
Alistair hated when his dad was right. “I can’t just go this castle, and waltz up!”
“Why not? He didn’t hurt you today. The attempts against your life have stopped. Something tells me that if he wanted to hurt you already, he would have. Which means that Altiere was never after you, but your kids. When they left, things got tame.”
“He was always obsessed with Adeline.” Alistair let out a sigh. “I trusted everything Declan said. I let my daughters train under that man against my better judgement, and it was stupid.”
“You loved him. You do things you wouldn’t normally do because you know it’ll make them happy and you want to see their smile. When your dad and I first met, I was taking a big risk by even associating with him. But I liked how dorky he was searching through records on the computer. I knew from that point on that I’d do anything he asked me to. Absolutely anything.”
“But there’s a difference! Dad would never betray us.” Alistair wiped the tears so that his vision wouldn’t blur. “And Burke…”
“Don’t.” Ethan shook his head. “He wasn’t good for you. He was a great guy, but pretending wasn’t fair to either of you.”
“If I just gave up on Declan, we would-”
“Why can’t you give up on Declan?” Ethan cut him off. “Honestly, after the talk you had today, do you still feel the same?”
“Yes. I feel it even stronger, dad. He…there was something about him. At the very end of the conversation, he was saying harsh things about me being a terrible leader, but I just heard it in his voice. Survive. He’s trying to survive, even if that means taking down my entire family in the process and I hate myself for justifying his behavior. But I…I love him. The feeling won’t go away.”
Ethan ran his fingers through his messy red hair. “Sometimes the feeling never goes away, but you have to make a choice. The hardest choice of your life, before you get burned even more.”
“You just told me to talk to him, now I should give up? Make up your mind.”
“Hey, I’m just laying out all the options on the table. You’re the one who needs to make up your mind. But, no matter how dangerous it may be, I don’t think you’ll ever forgive yourself if you don’t try to talk to him. Maybe what you see is what you get with him. And in that case, you give up on him. You live YOUR life. But if you think he’s worth saving? We try and save him.”
“It’s been so long dad…” Alistair bit his lip. “We can’t save someone who chose their fate.”
“Well, how do we know he chose his fate?” Ethan asked.
“Because, he had a witch hunt out for us, just two years ago. Do you hear yourself? Our lives were miserable for ten fucking years because of that. He could have tried to subvert Alitere’s wrath, if he was following orders.”
“I’m not saying that he’s a saint,” Ethan said. “I fucking hate his guts for doing what he did. I wish every single day that you’ll forget about him. But I know how you’re feeling, because I wake up every damn morning and think of your dad. I know that it’s a feeling you can’t shake, even if you want to. So, I’m trying to help the best I can. I don’t know what else to do. I’m not using my brain. I’m just telling you what might mend your broken heart.” Alistair threw himself into his father’s arms, sobbing. Neither knew what to say anymore. They just held each other, letting their minds wander.
Alistair splashed water onto his face. Talking to Declan? No. Absolutely not. That was out of the question. His dad was insane for suggesting it. Except, that he wasn’t. Ethan had brought up real reasons to go to the castle. Not because it was smart, because it wasn’t. Not because it was safe, because it definitely wasn’t. But because this nagging feeling in his gut wouldn’t go away until he saw for himself what Declan was doing. Not that show he put on as King of Moonlight Falls. But…
That would be assuming that Declan was more than a power hungry monarch. And he couldn’t be sure that wasn’t true. Because honestly, what would push him this far if not power? Survival. Declan had been working with Damian before, he recalled, when they had been much younger. “To protect you,” Declan had told him. Damian, the man who had murdered his father. The man who had made Alistair’s own father’s life a living hell.
Yet, Alistair was willing to overlook it at the time. Because Declan had said, “The reason he’s left you alone this far is because of my deal with him!I promised him that Altiere would never be a threat again because I’d get rid of him for good. I rather have you than Altiere, don’t you get it?”
Alistair tapped his fingers impatiently against the marble sink. The signs were all there. Declan had admitted he seduced Altiere for the power. He admitted to killing Altiere because of a better offer from Damian. When resurrecting Ethan, Declan should have given up the powers he took from Altiere. That should have gotten rid of the purebreed vampire. Yet, the man walked. He walked, talked, took his children…
Alistair rubbed his temple. He had been thinking. A lot. About Declan’s actions. About Altiere. About Damian. It all came down to one thing. Something was going on in that castle. Not only now, but from what Apollo had told him, always. According to his dad, he had met Damian in college. A human university. Damian’s reason for being there? Mason. He claimed Mason was a threat, yet going to the university stopped nothing. Because as Alistair could see, Mason was still up to his tricks. So what did Damian accomplish? Apollo had said that Damian was the one who first told him about the concept of dimensions. What if it wasn’t time they were traveling through, but dimensions? Damian had said that the future the guardians and Mason were trying to save might not have existed at all.
Alistair left the bathroom and headed to the bookshelf where he had left the book that Xerxes had given him with all of the information available on his family. Pages upon pages were underlined, scribbles in the margins, lines highlighted. Damian was nice to Apollo as a cover up, right? He tried to kill his fathers. When Alistair came to Moonlight Falls, he found a resistance against Damian in Sienna, Patrick, Hayden, Robin, Kat and Miles. A few time distortions later and they all disappeared? But somehow, Patrick shows up again years later to watch his kids while they train with Altiere, mysteriously never showing himself. Charlotte runs into Miles and Patrick but Sienna leaves? Where were the resistance now?
The resistance was at the core of this whole thing, Alistair was sure. Because whenever Damian had enacted some sort of attack on him, one of the members of the resistance were no where to be seen. Considering it wasn’t easy to maneuver out of Moonlight Falls without a portal…He slammed the book shut. Why hadn’t he seen it before? The resistance were dimension shifters, and considering Damian was the one who brought the idea to Apollo’s attention, he was sure the vampire was at the heart of it all. The reason they kept disappearing was because they were traveling to other dimensions…
But how did Declan fit into this? Or Altiere? Aria? Were they all in on this? And what was this exactly? “Dad!” Alistair called out. “You’re right. I have to go see Declan! I think I just figured it out! At least, some of it!”
“Do you finally understand?” Alistair felt arms reach out and grab him, as he nearly tumbled over. He looked up into the eyes of none other than the man who was constantly on his mind. “Do you truly understand?” His tone was cold, but he could see the fight in his eyes. Alistair wanted to melt into his touch, but he knew better than to give in.
“What are you doing in my house?” Alistair gasped. “Dad!”
“He’s a bit caught up at the moment.” Declan held the letter up. “Found this on your fridge. He went out for some groceries. But knowing him, we have some time.”
“What does that mean?” Alistair lowered his eyes at the man.
“It means what you think it means. Like you don’t notice the long walks your dad goes on every day? He starts at your house, goes to the cemetery and spends hours there. Then, he goes to the store and buys a few things so you won’t suspect anything. But he knows you know, it’s just a formality.” Declan walked away from Alistair, making his way over to the queen sized bed. He laid back onto it, eyes shut and arms folded over his chest. “What do you need a bed this big for? You dumped the scrawny little mermaid.”
“You were watching us,” Alistair answered. “Why am I even surprised?”
“Of course I’m watching you.” Declan hadn’t opened his eyes at all. “I’m always watching you. Every second of every day. It’s unhealthy, actually.” Alistair took a step backwards towards the door. “Looking for your wand? It’s pointless. I won’t hurt you. I would have already done it by now if I wanted to. You said you were on your way out to see me right? Well, here I am. At your disposal.” Alistair felt his heart beat quicken at those words. “All these months, you must have been so lonely. No kids. A man who you kept around because the sex was average at best-” He smirked, opening one eye to see Alistair rigid and frozen in place. “Did I strike a nerve? That man is lucky he isn’t here right now. I almost killed him, you know?”
“Stop talking,” Alistair seethed. “Right now.”
“Make me,” Declan challenged, patting the spot on the bed next to him. “For old time’s sake?”
“You’re pathetic,” Alistair replied, crossing his arms over his chest. “If you’re not here to tell me about what you’re up to. You should leave.”
Declan stood up and walked over to Alistair, with a devious look in his eyes. As he got closer, Alistair could feel his breath quickening. His body was heating up with desire. “Make it worth my while,” Declan whispered into his ear, thumb caressing his cheek ever so softly.
Alistair shut his eyes. It took everything in him to push the man away. “No.”
Declan laughed, throwing himself onto Alistair’s bed once again. “You’re the same stubborn man as always.”
Alistair shook his head. “No. You’re the one who’s the same. You’re conniving, and you’ve always been. I’m finally smart enough to realize it.” But he still felt like he wanted to hold the man who lounged lazily on his bed. Not menacing at all.
“You’re just jumping to conclusions…as always.” Declan kicked his shoes off, making himself comfortable. “Our whole relationship has been you accusing me of working with those vampires.”
“We’re way fucking passed this point, Declan,” Alistair said angrily. “Don’t you dare-”
“What? Give you a reason to think I might actually be a good man? I’m not. I’m not even pretending to be.”
“Then why…why are you here?” Alistair demanded. “Why now?”
“Because it’s finally time.” Declan grabbed a pillow from the other side of the bed. The same side that Alistair had so carefully made up earlier that morning, and placed it under his head. “I hope you don’t mind me making myself at home. It’ll be an interesting conversation.”