Chapter 13. // The Truth
The silence was suffocating. Ursula had ordered the stupefied servants home until further notice, and they closed up the house, taking refuge in Raphael’s large office. The wooden panels were dark brown, as well has his desk, which he now leaned against, actively ignoring Grey. The pain in her chest was near unbearable, and it took everything in her not to burst into tears, following in Cassandra’s and Sidra’s footsteps. Taj still hadn’t awoken, and he lay comfortable on a blanket, a pillow supporting his head on Azula’s lap.
Zachary and Antonia were squirming under Rayne’s and Circe’s glare, and Val stared blankly at the wall which held a monitor. Ursula and the Argyros’ stood or sat silently around the room, waiting on either Sage or Grey to speak.
Grey sighed deeply and licked her lips before she spoke. “At any moment now, you’re going to be rendered unconscious. During that time, you may start to see visions, or more precisely, memories; and when you awaken, you’ll be close to the truth of your lives.” She paused, looking around the room. The Rossellini children stared at her intensely, Val in understanding, Circe and Rayne in confusion, and Raphael in an emotion she couldn’t place.
“But in the little time that we may have, I’ll tell you this,” she adjusted herself as she leaned against the wall, hearing the minute cracking of her bones as she moved. “Your parents,” she pointed to Zachary and Antonia, both of whom looked exhausted, “aren’t exactly your parents.”
“What do you mean? Yes, they are; I-I remember my childhood with them.” Circe said, rising to her feet. “Look, I don’t know what kind of sick joke you’re trying to play on my family, but I suggest you leave before I kill you.” Grey stared back at her blankly. “Come on, then. Kill me.” She said calmly, not breaking eye contact with the woman.
Raphael stood poised, yet tense like a wound-up spring, ready to leap in to protect his mate; even if it meant harming his little sister. Circe faltered when Grey didn’t blink while she stared her down. She plopped back in her seat with a huff, angrily crossing her arms across her chest. “Before I continue; anyone else think I’m talking shit?” Silence. “Good.”
Grey sighed again, rolling her shoulders. She was starting to feel the effects of having another General in the area, along with two powerful magic users and a handful of Guardians-in-training. She felt suffocated; challenged. She wanted to exert her dominance to prove her strength, and secure her title as Guardian and General. But they weren’t threats; they were family.
She begun again, “Now, like I was saying, they are not your actual parents; not exactly. Zachery and Antonia Rossellini are from an alternate timeline that was destroyed by the same people who are responsible for you being here, on Earth; as well as the reason why you’re the third reincarnation of your original selves.”
“WHAT IN THE FUCK.” Circe screamed. Val looked deathly pale, as did Rayne; Raphael looked eerily calm. Ursula chuckled along with Theresa, and the other Argyros’ remained silent. Grey ran a hand down her face, groaning softly. “Can I continue before you pass out please?” Circe paused her rambling and sat down again, averting her gaze to her feet.
“Thank you. They were the last survivors of the Rossellini clan, being that they were on their honeymoon. That timeline was pretty fucked-up to have siblings as soulmates.” Rayne and Valentina gagged, and Antonia and Zachery looked away sheepishly. “So…?” Raphael asked, and Grey continued. “We have a connection with our alternate selves; we know when we’re in danger or when we have died. I felt my alternate self die, but Azula, Sage and Violet were still alive; we tried to see if we could save them. We failed, and just before the entire timeline was ripped from existence, we caught hold of Antonia and Zachery and fled.” Grey sighed, sliding to the ground.
It was there she had met Cassandra. She was too late when they had arrived in that timeline, and that version of Raphael died right before her eyes before she had time to react. She didn’t know what exactly had turned the Hunters rogue, as Cassandra said that they had lived in peace, only going to war when one supernatural got a little too power-hungry, but she had an inkling of a feeling that the Council had an influence.
“The five of you had died for the first time, and for you to come back, you need a perfect vessel; one that was similar to your original physical body. When we snagged those two,” she jabbed a thumb in Antonia and Zachery’s direction, “Antonia was pregnant. We thought that once the child was born, the original soul would return to the body and things would be fine. But that wasn’t the case. Once you were old enough,” she looked at Raphael, regret clear in her eyes, “I tried to tell you about your past life, hoping that you’d regain your memories and we could try to return home, but… the Mania consumed you and you died minutes later. It was then we realized that we were sitting ducks, and whether you remembered your past life or not, we still had a duty to fulfil.” The Argyros’ looked sorrowful, the negative energy charging the air around them.
“The timeline we fled to had a Rossellini family, Lycans, and we hid Antonia and Zachery there. We pleaded with them to change Antonia and Zachery as they were Vampires in their timeline, and they did, once we had proved our loyalty. Their eldest son, Dimitri,” Grey chuckled, shaking her head slightly as she remembered all his attempts to seduce her, until she had to disappear to throw a hoard of Scavengers off his trail, and in the process, erased and altered his memories. Grey never existed, but Antonia and Zachery were his beloved cousins who came to join the family. When she came back, he was with Sidra.
Tabitha was new and silent, but she did try to console Grey, who was irrationally upset. Then, a coordinated attack had taken Dimitri, and she hunted each and every one of them down to avenge his death, for her and Sidra, and Cassandra as well. She had a gruesome battle with Councilwoman Demeter, but in the end, the satisfaction of seeing the light in her orange eyes die was too great. She found Sidra in time, and they fled that timeline again, settling in this current one, where Alice was. The room remained silent as Grey relayed her memories.
“When we got here, this timeline’s Rossellini clan heads had died during a war. I,” she gulped, “I altered your memories to include Antonia and Zachery as your parents. You were all well off in your lives as hybrids, and surprisingly, your beasts had the same names with the other versions of Raphael we had encountered; they also happened to be Cassandra’s and Sidra’s second chances at eternal love and happiness.”
Grey sighed deeply, running a hand down her face. “We had to leave again. Go to our original timeline. We had gotten a message saying that it was safe for us to come home, but I thought it would be better to scope out the scene first before bringing you back there. I was right; the Council had a war going on, trying to make the kingdoms submit. I don’t know what power it was, but we managed to weaken them and push them back, off the planet. I came back as soon as I could, which happened to be four years ago. The rest of my family followed after and we had been gathering our strength and working with Hunter just to keep us on our toes. And the rest is history in the making.”
Grey blew out a puff of air, rolling her shoulders as the feeling of suffocation grew stronger; she could see her siblings shift uncomfortably, and Violet was cowering in a corner, clenching and unclenching her fists. She chanced a glance at Raphael, whose eyebrows were furrowed as he digested Grey’s words. She looked to Val, and she looked back at her. ‘Hate me now?’ Grey mouthed to her, arching her eyebrow. Val shook her head. ‘You did warn me. And I could never hate you for doing what you did. I understand.’
Grey released a sigh she didn’t know she was holding and smiled softly at Val. ’Thank you.’ Val nodded, carrying a smile of her own. Grey returned her attention to Raphael, and as soon as they locked eyes, Raphael stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him. A traitorous tear trickled from her eye. She stood on shaky legs and followed after him, dismissing the looks of pity. She allowed Sidra to take over and use her heightened sense of smell to track him down an underground gym. When she regained control, Raphael was pounding mercilessly into a punching bag, angry yells escaping his lips every few moments. She watched him take out his anger, her guilt rising with each blow that the red bag received. Even as it flew off its chain and landed on the ground with a heavy thud, Raphael continued to hit the bag until the cloth split open and sand poured out.
He rose to his feet, breathing heavily, and turned to Grey, who stood at the threshold of the door, arms crossed over her stomach. “I did it to protect you; everything I’ve done ever since I passed my Guardian testing was for you, and I will continue to do so until Time and The Cosmos decides to stop this show.” Grey said, surprised that her voice didn’t crack. Raphael was before her in a few steps and dipped his head to claim her lips roughly. Grey moaned softly, revelling in the feeling. She secretly needed it; needed him to take out his frustrations on her instead of giving her the silent treatment. Anything was better than not knowing what was running through his mind.
Raphael pulled away, pecking her lips softly then resting his forehead against hers. “I’m grateful, amore mio, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not upset about the whole situation.” Grey chuckled softly. “The situation is extremely vexing. But we’ll get through it. Te lo prometto.” “I promise.” Raphael nodded, then claimed her lips again, but gentler this time.
They returned to the office, where the silence was comfortable, and not suffocating. Grey looked at Ursula questionably. “We cleared up whatever little questions we could answer.” Grey nodded. Raphael pulled her on his lap as he sat behind his desk. “What now?” Rayne asked, looking around the room. Grey’s siblings fidgeted and shifted uncomfortably, resisting the urge to cower and submit; Grey had a stronger hold of herself seeing as she was a General as well, but there was still a force suppressing her and it had gotten stronger. ‘She’s very close.’ Grey thought to herself, a suppressing the smile that wanted to bloom.
“AAHHHH!” Taj shot off the ground with a scream, whipping his head around wildly and quickly retreating to a corner. Azula, Ursula and Grey were the first to come out of their shock, and they stood, slowly approaching Taj. “Hey,” Ursula crooned softly, holding her arms up in surrender. “Tajie-boy you okay? How do you feel?” he had pressed himself firmly against the wall, his breath coming out in short and heavy pants. His breathing eased up as the seconds ticked on and soon, he stood against the wall, his legs parted to balance his weight. ’Prepared to defend or attack.’ Grey thought as she paused a few feet away from him.
“I-I…” he paused, gulping and drawing in a shaky breath. “I had a twin. I had another sister.” A tear trickled from his eye as he glanced around the room. As his eyes landed on Azula, he stumbled towards her, grabbing her shoulders. “And we- we had children. I-I had two boys.” He whispered the second sentence, and Azula laughed shakily. “Where- where are they?” he asked, his eyes scanning the room, as if they’d appear out of thin air. Azula laughed again, squeezing his biceps in a comforting manner. “They’re okay. They’re safe.” Her eyes widened, and she cupped his face, bringing it level to hers. “Wait…” she whispered, and Taj nodded.
“There- there’s someone else. He- he said that he’s the original me an-and,” Taj’s blue eyes bled out to an emerald green, with dots of silver and yellow. Azula gasped loudly and let out a short scream of joy. He chuckled, his voice octaves deeper, and pulled her into his arms, kissing the top of her head. “I’ve missed you sorely, my Princess.” He murmured in Tynia, Titanian native tongue. Azula sobbed and the rest of the Argyros siblings sucked in a breath with shock-riddled features.
He turned his head towards Grey and winked, a smirk pulled up at his lips. “General.” He greeted in Tynia, and Grey let out a short, elated laugh. He then looked down at Azula, raising her head to meet his gaze. “Soon.” He whispered, brushing away a tear and the green bled back into blue. Taj stumbled back a few steps before Raphael caught and steadied him. “This is really happening.” Cyan murmured, and Grey looked towards her younger brother. “It is.”
“HOLY FUCKING SHIT CAN SHE TONE IT DOWN?!” Violet screamed, a sob wracking her body as she pushed herself impossibly further into the wall. Grey felt the presence. It was pushing harder for her to submit, but she pushed back. Sage, Azula, and Jett looked normal, but there was a slight strain in Jett as he tried to force the domineering aura back with his own. Ash, Cyan, Raven and Theresa were either kneeling or hunched over, quivers wracking their bodies slightly as they whimpered. She allowed the smile to bloom as she opened the door and her feet carried her to the front door. She threw it open and grinned so widely her cheeks began to ache.“Kitty!” she yelled, throwing her arms wide and grinning as widely as Grey was. “Anne!” Grey yelled back, her body filled with happiness, apprehension, and a twinge of bloodlust for the ones who caused all this mess; the once who hurt her family and the people she loved; the fucking Council of the Order of Guardians. “Ready to go to war?” she asked, pushing her body off the vehicle she leaned against. “Oh you know I’m ready to go.” Grey replied, bloodlust and anger swirling together in a heated mess. “There’s my Kitty Kat.” Alice grinned maliciously, and Grey copied her action, already aware of the challenge ahead. She was so ready.
~Surprise update because... I honestly don't know. But hey, two chapters in three days? That's a feat for me. Tell me, how did I do? Does it make sense?