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Chapter 31: After

Sebastian paced, Sebastian cursed, Sebastian cried. Yet nothing in his life had ever felt as pointless as this. Because Sebastian knew, that no matter what he did he couldn’t change what was going to happen.

“Blue?” Shaft was there at the door, because even if Sebastian wanted to keep her out he couldn’t. You can’t shut out air, any more than you can sunlight.

He imagined his uncle had asked her to find him and make sure he would be alright. He didn’t want her to see this. To witness his breakdown.

“W-We could go get some coffee? Taking your mind off things could help…” Sebastian didn’t let her finish. The anger that he was feeling wasn’t targeted at her, but she had just made herself into a target.

Help? Ha no thanks! I don’t need your pity; I don’t need anything from you! What I need is for you to leave me alone!” to her credit Shaft didn’t suffocate Sebastian, and she could have. Instead she kept trying.

“It’s not pity Blue, not from me” Sebastian’s mind was teetering, gone was any of the stability he had foolishly thought he could hold onto. Everything in his life felt like it had turned upside down.

“How can you say it’s not pity? I know it is! Pity for the boy who lost the girl he loved, who is about to lose the only family he has left! And who’s probably lost what was left of his chance of survival!” he would have screamed if he thought it would do anyone any good. The truth was it would just make all of this more real.

“Don’t push us away Sebastian! Losing us won’t make losing your Uncle any less painful!” he wanted to shut his ears. To turn them off and be alone with his drowning mind.

“I bet you want me to believe, that because of your tattoos and the fact that your family is probably all dead that you understand what pain is. You don’t Shaft, the world has given things to you instead of just taking them away” that was how it felt to Sebastian. That the world wanted him to be alone, dead or crazy. Maybe all three.

“If you want to be alone, that’s fine, but don’t pretend like you know what other people have been through Blue. It won’t end well for you” Shaft left and Sebastian knew he had upset her. He didn’t care, he was done caring about people. He had known it could only end badly but he’d done it anyway.

Before that fateful day when he met Gabrielle, he had been doing a good job. Of pushing people away so that they wouldn’t get hurt and so that he wouldn’t get hurt. Even his uncle hadn’t been as close to him as he was now.

Why? Why would you take him away from me?! He kept remembering the exhaustion that had lined his uncle’s face as he told Sebastian the truth. He was dying, his uncle was dying!

Soon, there would be no one in Sebastian’s life, they would be all be dead or turned into evil backstabbers with killer armies. He would be truly alone, and no one could ever understand how that felt.

Sebastian wanted to be strong for his uncle, he didn’t want him to worry about what would happen when he was gone. He wanted him to relax and save his strength. With Gabrielle threatening to attack them any day now that just wasn’t possible.

He sat and tried to stem the flow of tears but they would not stop. It was through a watery haze that he saw the piece of paper caught under the window.

Top floor of a random apartment block miles from their last fight, yet Sebastian had no doubt as to who had left the note. The Peacemakers were better trackers than Sebastian gave them credit for.

He carefully pulled it under the gap at the bottom of the window and unfolded it. Written in the Peacemakers signature blood red writing was a threat. Maybe more of a promise.

I know you want to keep them safe, so come and fight me alone, or I will strike them all down while they are weak. Do not be afraid for I know I can defeat you without help. You can have my word that no one but I will fight you. Let’s face one another for the last time. The winner is whoever is still alive at the end. – G.

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