Steven was hunting for his sister, a challenge that had never been so challenging before. This new world they both inhabited was so spread out but so crowded with different people and scents that finding only one person was nearly impossible. If he hadn’t had a starting point, he might have failed in his mission before it even began.
He knew her though, her habits and her drives. After a kill she would be moved to return to a place of safety and comfort. After killing their father she would run back home to lick the wounds he surely gave her. He ignored the voice in the back of his head telling him that he had smelt none of her blood near the body. He ignored it when it called out from the dark recesses of his mind that Holtz had never been a true father to his sister, only an adversary. He ignored it all to focus on his consuming rage that had blanketed his senses since he stood over the body of the only father he had ever known.
Standing outside the home of his birth father he let that rage burn even brighter. After a monstrous act where else would she run to but back to the side of the monster who bore her. She would be here, if not yet then soon. She had to be.
Pushing through the doors he found the building empty but for a single female. He vaguely remembered her from when he first arrived in this world but he paid her no true mind, she wasn’t who he was after. He could not scent his sister in the air, and while Angelus’ scent was everywhere it was slightly stale. He wasn’t here either. Gnashing his teeth he turned slowly in a circle, his eyes tracking through every corner and every shadow searching for the trap they must have laid. After killing his father they would have known he would come, they had to be here!
He could hear the rise and fall of the female’s voice as her words washed over him lost in his haze. She was trying to get his attention, but he cared nothing for her. Until she laid her hand on his shoulder. The moment her skin laid against his own and scorched him with her heat he reacted. Grabbing her hand he leveraged her over his shoulder and sent her sliding across the floor into the wall. His breathing was heavy, though she weighed barely anything at all, that small act of violence had done nothing to cool his rage. Looking around he began to smash everything he could reach. Furniture, walls, glasses, mirrors, windows, it all crumbled before him.
“What’s going on here?” At the sound of the beast’s voice his anger found a fresh target. The demon’s back was turned as he helped the woman up from the floor giving him the perfect opening to attack.
The fight was fast and vicious with the man doing more talking than striking, he was on the defensive and something about that filled him with great satisfaction. He had the creature at his mercy. He wanted him to feel the fear and pain of death, the certainty that the end was coming that he was sure his true father felt. He wanted to pay back in kind every blow, every wound. While Justine and the other had said that his sister had done the deed, he knew she would never have done such a thing without this vampire urging her deeper and deeper into the dark. If he hadn’t coerced her into giving in to her baser nature he was sure he would have been able to save her like he had planned. He ruined everything.
Rather than fight like a true man the cur continued trying to speak with him, to talk him down. Like there could be anything he could say that he would want to hear. Even if his words were a confession and plea for absolution he would not care to hear it. He didn’t need to hear the words, he knew what the bastard had done and that was all that mattered.
He had just landed another blow to his legendary face, bleeding it the smallest amount, when he felt his shoulders being pulled back. Twisting away from the other who had grabbed him he turned to face the newest opponent only to come face to face with his sister. How dare she stand there looking so confused after what she had done. She knew why he was here, and she knew what had to happen now.
Pulling back his hand he struck her with all his might sending her across the room until her back met the counter at full force. Her fall to the floor would have given him a moment of joy at any other time, any blow that felled her was worthy of celebration, but tonight all he wanted was for her to feel the pain she had inflicted upon his life so carelessly.
His next blow was easily blocked, and his body was peppered with fast and furious smaller hits grinding his joints together as his limbs snapped back from the force. She concentrated her blows to his abdomen trying to tire him, but it wouldn’t work this time. This time he would win.
“Why are you attacking?”
“Why did you kill our father?” If his voice broke before he could finish his question it was only because of her fists hitting him, no other reason.
“Don’t act as though you are innocent. You left witnesses, they saw you flee leaving his body behind you to rot!” She left them both behind. God this hurt so much more than he ever thought it would. Every time father had said he would one day have to put his sister down like a rabid dog while he agreed out loud he never thought it would ever happen. His sister had always been so strong and in control.
“Steven I didn’t-”
“Lies!” He wouldn’t listen to her lies, her half truths and pleas of innocence. Not again. Listening to her talk about how she was in control was what landed them here. If he had just fought harder the last time they came to blows, if he hadn’t held back then, none of this would have happened. Father would still be here to help him understand things.
“Steven!” Her voice warbled with emotion, but he knew it wasn’t true. Demons felt no emotions!
“No.” Reaching out he grabbed at her neck wanting to break it and stop her from saying anything else. He couldn’t hear it, it would break him.
The moment his hand made contact with her neck something changed. She changed. Her confusion melted away and her own anger rose up to take its place.
With both hands she pushed him away until his back hit one of the columns with a resounding crack. Whether it was the column or his bones he didn’t know, everything hurt so much, he wasn’t given the time to try and piece together if he could still move she was on him too quickly. She dragged him around until he was lying prone on the floor and she knelt over his chest, her fists coming at his face over and over again. He could feel the bones and cartilage giving way under the force, but he couldn’t even bring his hands up to try and block her; they were pinned to his sides by her legs.
He could hear shouting and seeing hands trying to pull her away but she shook them off, not finished with him yet. The blows continued to fall but she moved as she struck, hitting him everywhere seemingly at once.
Then she was gone.
The fight was over, he had lost again. He really thought he had her that time. His whole body hurt and his every attempt to right himself so he could run to somewhere safe to heal failed as miserably as he had before. He could not even shift his body at all to try to gain his footing. When he looked up to find Angelus standing over him he thought he knew what was going to happen next. He would die here, where he had first entered this world. Fitting really, dying where it all began. Where arguably he should have died days ago, if this man hadn’t shown him mercy and allowed him to run.
Instead of the killing blow he expected he was lifted from the floor, the arms holding him strong and steady as he was carried up the stairs and to a room down the hall. The woman from before was behind him carrying some kind of box that smelled strangely of starch and chemicals ordering that he be laid down so she could see him easier. As his wounds were tended to he closed his eyes and let himself fall into the depths of sleep. He didn’t want to exist here any longer. He wanted it all to end, but it simply continued on like a nightmare with no way out. His father was dead, his sister was truly set against him, he had been lied to in some way though he still wasn’t sure who was lying to him and why, and now the man he had been raised to loathe was showing him more kindness and compassion than any other ever had before.
As he sank deeper he let the tears he’d been holding back for so long finally fall. What did it matter if they did, there was no one left to see them. No one that matters anyway.
Destiny didn’t speak as she and Lawson walked back to his loft. She didn’t know what she would say even if she had the energy to try. Her brother had truly thought so low of her that he thought she would have killed Holtz behind his back and then simply fled. Did he not know her at all?
Maybe he didn’t, and that hurt more than anything else could have. The one person she had always thought would be on her side no matter what, wasn’t. Reaching the bed she laid down and curled in on herself. She had never felt this before and hoped to never feel it again.
She thought Lawson would simply leave, that he would see her emotional breaking as a sign of weakness, something Angelus said vampires abhorred and flee. Instead she felt him settle behind her, his body flush against hers. His arm curled around her and he just held her. The sobs came slowly, she had never made noise as she cried as far back as she could remember, but this time she did. Her harsh cries moved and shook her body, but he just held her through it all. He didn’t try to tell her to stop, he didn’t try to tell her it would be okay, hell he didn’t even try to hold her tighter. He just stayed.
When she started to quiet down she heard him mumbling behind her, his lips against the back of her neck.
“The first time is the hardest. You never see it coming when they completely destroy you, but it does get easier. I promise. I promise you it does.”
“First time?” This was hardly the first time she and Steven had come to blows. In their youth it was nearly a daily occurrence, usually encouraged by Holtz.
“Being betrayed by someone you thought you could trust.” Was that what happened? Was that why it hurt so much?
Reaching down she grabbed his hand as it rested against her stomach and threaded her fingers through his. If this was betrayal she never wanted to feel it again. It felt like dying, like she couldn’t breathe.
Closing her eyes she let her tears fall as she listened to his words of a better tomorrow where they could start again and try to be better.
That sounded nice. If only it was true.
Lilah stood in her office reviewing the tape of the fight again and again. It was shot through a window and wasn’t the best quality having been done with a handheld camera, the shaking of the operator’s hand as he tried to follow the fast paced movements hadn’t helped any.
Between the two it was clear who the superior was, until it wasn’t. The girl had started out only blocking and backing out of range and then everything switched and she was unleashed. Lilah had never seen anything like her before, and she was sure none of the others had either. They would have to plan carefully before taking this to the senior partners.
This project deserved their full attention.