Dream Walker

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Chapter 6 - Demetri


It had been two weeks since his father had asked him to go away to manage this so-called art gallery in the United States. Two weeks for him to think about how much he didn’t know about business or even art for that matter. Now, if he had been asked to take part in something musical that would have been different. He could tell the difference between his gusli and another, how the strings of a Stradivarius sound compared to a Guarneri. But when it came to art, a painting was a painting. Oils, acrylics, watercolor...to him they all looked the same. So why was his father so determined for him to go besides the possibility of becoming a Pride Father? He had no idea how to do that either and it wasn’t like his father had been the best teacher.

Being as lost in thought as he was, Demetri hadn’t realized that he had made his way to the hall that led to his father’s study. Perhaps it was the distinct lack of the two men that always stood outside the doors that threw him off or that they were open just a sliver. At any rate, he slows his pace and stands just out of sight of the strip of light coming from the door as the sound of ice cubes being dropped into a glass is heard. The pouring of liquid into the glass is soon followed by the deep timber of his father’s voice.

“Are you certain that this lead is legitimate, Vasili? I would prefer not to have a repeat of Sviyazhsk.” The clink of the ice in the glass as his father takes a drink is barely audible as the other man speaks.

“Sviyazhsk was an absolute shit show. We were both still fresh from being released from active service, you know that. Our team was untried and we rushed in thinking we could just wing it. It was a valuable lesson learned and one that our new recruits will not have to learn themselves.”

There is a brief pause as the one he now knew was named Vasili pours himself a drink without the ice followed by the sound of leather creaking as he sits back into where he is seated. “Are you sure Demetri will be able to do this task in America? He still hasn’t had a recall of his past training or any other memories yet. This bothers me, Sergei. It bothers me greatly. He is nowhere near ready for this. And judging from his reaction at the meeting, he doesn’t seem keen on taking on the responsibility for it either.”

Demetri stares at the crack in the door with a creased brow and narrowed eyes. What the hell did Vasili mean by training? And memories? Although he is right that I am not really wanting to become someone in a position of leadership. He leans in as close as he dared, his body molding against the door as the shadows wrap around him.

“I shouldn’t have let you do it, Vasili. It was bad enough you had to repress your own granddaughter's memories...but Demetri’s too?”

“You knew it was necessary, Sergei. They were going to find her and as close as the two of them were getting…” Vasili’s words trail off and the leather groans again with his movement out of the seat. “I know you want to protect him but he deserves to know. You need to tell him before he finds out on his own and draws the wrong conclusion about you. About everything.”

“Yes, yes, yes...I know this. He already thinks I enslave women and gods only know what other perversions that go with it. Where the hell did he even get that idea?”

“You have become rather complacent and developed a bad habit of leaving files open on your desk, my friend. He could have easily seen one, or more, and only caught a glimpse of what was on them. You and I both know that when someone only has a partial amount of information that they fill in the blanks themselves, usually with the wrong ideas. If he has control over his ability you would have no idea if he had been in here or not.” Sergei groans and Vasili makes a rude noise through his nose. “And yet, nothing was done to persuade him otherwise. There is that, and the fact that you did get rather rough with the young lady...You even had me worried.”

Sergei sighs heavily as the sound of more liquid being poured is heard. “I know I did nothing to stop it. I should have been gentler but she was pressing her luck with Demetri.” A glass is set down on something and it makes a soft thud. “Polova. What am I to do with her, Vasili? I know I made a promise to watch over her but she is growing more and more obsessed with Demetri. It is bordering on insanity. Her infatuation is even more of a worry considering she doesn’t even carry an Alpha power. ”

“Send her away. She will become a serious problem if you don’t. Perhaps she is one of the reasons why he hasn’t remembered what he is capable of doing yet.”

Demetri leans forward enough to catch a glimpse of his father leaning back in his large leather office chair, his hands rubbing at his face before settling in his lap. He had never seen his father look so tired before. The Pride Father's suit coat lay over the edge of a nearby chair and his tie was undone and hung loosely around his neck. Two cufflinks sat on the edge of the dark mahogany desk and the sleeves of his tailored white shirt were rolled up to his elbows. His facial hair that was usually so well shaved and kept showed the silver amongst the black. It was the most casual looking he had ever seen him. He moves back from the doors’ opening as Sergei leans forward and steeples his fingers under his chin as he regards Vasili who was sitting in the leather seat just out of Demetri’s line of sight.

“Perhaps meeting up with her again will trigger both their memories.” His father takes a drink out of his glass and sets it down again, one hand pinching the bridge of his nose while the other rests on the top of his polished desk. “Is it possible…”

“No, it is not.” Vasili cuts him off abruptly. “We have gone over this before. My Alpha power only lets me to place a fog over memories, not remove them completely or restore them. They have to be triggered by something familiar or someone they recognize. Whichever is stronger.”

“There is also the registry, my friend. She is not a part of it yet, is she?” Sergei leans forward and taps an index finger on his desk while he looks at the man seated across from him. “Vasili. Please tell me she hasn’t been added yet.”

The a sound of an empty glass being set down carefully on the glass table is accompanied by a heavy sigh. “She was added to it at the time of her birth by my own son, Alexei. I didn't know until it was already said and done.”

Demetri leans back from the door with his eyebrows pulled together in thought. Whoever this girl was, she was a shifter and already a part of the registry. If he could find out more about Vasili and his family heritage he could go online and track her down. If he wasn't able to find anything he had his own contacts within The Collective that owed him a few favors and he wanted to see who this elusive girl is that he supposedly knows.

His father isn’t happy and is now pacing about the room, muttering under his breath. Risking another look through the doors he can see him grabbing handfuls of his short hair as he paces, the tufts on his ears evident as he turns to face the one on the couch.

“Why? Why would he do that? It was the only way to keep her hidden!”

The two Alphas were now facing each other, his father taller by several inches. Demetri hadn’t seen or heard Vasili leave the couch and he backs away from the sliver of light to avoid being caught.

“Then perhaps you should have thought about that when you and the other elders made the registry, Sergei!” Vasili shoves a finger up towards the other man's nose, the tip extending into a wicked claw. “It was agreed that no matter what the heritage, if they have shifter blood they were to be counted! Especially those who knew of their own bloodlines.” The clawed finger retreats and Vasili sighs deeply. “You were the one that wanted to make sure of that. Or have you so easily forgotten?”

“Hard for me to forget when you are here, Vasili.” The Pride Father paces back and forth a few times as his temper ebbs, finally settling behind the large desk with a huff. “The registry was made in order to help some of the other shifters clans and groups find more diversity for their own kind...Even for the bears who keep their sleuths remote and away from prying eyes.” He rubs at his temples with a groan. “It wasn’t meant to be this evil, wicked entity for other factions to prey on us with. It’s become a nightmare.”

Vasili settles on the edge of the desk facing the door, his keen eyes narrowing as he peers out into the dark hallway. Demetri slips back while keeping his own eyes on the slight opening.

“It isn’t a wicked entity, my old friend. At the time it was a necessity and was made with the best of intentions.” Vasili smirks and leans away from the desk to turn his back on the doors, his hands clasping behind his back as he stands up straight. “You know what I think? I think you should pay your son a visit. Sit down with him and open up Pandora’s Box, so to speak. Preferably before we finish the next mission. Who knows how long we will be away dealing with that.”

Sergei groans a bit and then stands as Demetri grits his teeth and backs away from the door as silently as he can. “You have a valid point and I agree that it would be a good idea. He’s been just as distant as I have been and we need to talk more. Especially with him traveling to America in a few weeks. Or at least I am hoping he will.”

“Yes, but in your defense you have also been on missions that keep you from the house for days, even weeks on end. Of course, he also has a tendency to hide himself in the allure of clubs and raves that are filled with droves of warm bodies.”

The doors open wider and the rooms’ light spills out into the hallway to illuminate the small table and artwork on the wall in front of them. Demetri has his back firmly planted against the wall in a shadowed corner, the darkness wrapped around him like a black curtain. The two men step out and Vasili flips on a dim hall light on the opposite side of the doors from where he was hiding. He could feel his heart hammering in his chest as his father closes and locks the doors and begins to walk down the hall past his hiding spot. Vasili looks right at him and smiles just slightly, turning his attention to the Pride Father.

“I think you will find him more receptive than you expect. Perhaps a peace offering from the wine cellar is in order before you go see him, hm?”

“I like the way you think, my friend. I’ll be thankful to the gods if I remember what his favorite is.”

Sergei chuckles as he walks off, with Vasili hanging back for just a moment. Demetri stares at the man from his cloak of darkness as the older one gives him a wink before following his father down the hall.

He knew I was here. He knew and said nothing to my father.

Demetri could have stood there in the cover of darkness all night pondering what he had just heard, but he knew that Vasili had given him an opportunity to get back to his room, or at the very least, away from his father’s office so he would not be found loitering there. He looks around the corner to see them disappear, stepping out of the cover of his hiding spot, watching the tendrils of shadow wrap around his feet before retreating back into the corner again. Standing there for a moment he looks down the hall both ways before heading back towards his room.

The trek back was uneventful, only because the house itself was eerily quiet. He pulls his phone from his pocket and pushes the side button to illuminate the time. 12:14 am. Usually at this time he was at the club, or getting ready to go home from it. He silences his phone and puts it back into his pocket and begins to walk again. He wasn’t sure how he was going to talk to his father without letting it slip that he had heard their conversation.

Demetri was almost to his room when he heard the sounds of heavy footsteps coming down the hall. They weren’t trying to mask their steps and he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to be seen by whoever was coming. By the sound of it, there were at least four of them, their voices low as they approached. Stepping back into a nearby shadow by a dresser that was topped with a large vase full of dried flowers, he crouches down and disappears.

Moments later, a group of six men march by dressed in black and dark green tactical gear. Two of them had large rifles slung across their backs while the rest had either knives, handguns or both strapped to belts and shoulder straps. They were all wearing what looked like bulletproof vests that covered the front and back with long sleeved black shirts that were pulled tightly across large arms. Their pants were black and green camouflage colored cargos and some of them he was sure probably had extra clips for their handguns, or even extra knives hidden in the extra pockets. One of the men with rifles he recognized as a guard that always stood by the door to his father's study and for once he wasn’t wearing those damn sunglasses. The rest were faces of people he did not recognize. Interesting how he was in complete shadow and could see them so clearly.

“Anyone told the boss that the target has been moved?”

The one at the end with a rifle that wasn’t a door guard shakes his head as they walk by. “I have no idea, but I would assume yes as we are being called to the command center.”

Demetri watches them go until they are out of sight and makes sure he is alone before standing up and walking back out into the hallway. Part of him itched to follow, to see just exactly what they were talking about. Was the boss his father or Vasili? Who was the target? Was it the girl that they had been talking about earlier? He grits his teeth and clenches his fists as he paces the short distance from one side of the hall to the other. He stands there for a few more moments before he makes up his mind with a nod and heads to his room at a jog.

Once inside his room he sheds his white t-shirt, throwing it towards his bed and not caring that it lands on the floor in a heap. Searching his dresser for a black long sleeve shirt, he throws other shirts out of the drawer and over his shoulder until he finds the one that he wants. The shirt goes on easily as he kicks the other shirts out of the way, some of them getting shoved under his bed. Just something he would have to clean later, if he had a later that is.

Demetri had to be fast and tried to remove his heavy boots in a hurry, hopping around the end of his bed on one foot until he managed to pull it off and tossing it towards a random corner of his room. Repeating the process with the other boot he flings it into the same corner with a loud thud next to the other boot. His mind was racing just as fast as his heart as he grabbed an elastic from the top of his dresser to pull back his hair, making sure to get as much of it out of the way as he could. He wanted to shadow these guys and he wouldn’t be able to do it if his hair was in his eyes.

He yanks open the doors to his room and is greeted by the surprised face of his adopted sister, Polova. Her right hand was held up and folded into a loose fist and her eyes spring open wider as she backs away from the door a step.

“What do you want, Polova? I do not have the time, nor the patience, to have a lengthy talk with you. Make it quick.”

“I couldn’t sleep. Looks like you couldn’t either.” She lowers her eyes and looks back up with a hint of a smile as she places her hands together in front of her, the upper parts of her arms pressing her breasts together so much that the front of her sleeping top gets stuck in her cleavage.

Demetri doesn’t even bother to hide his displeasure as he glowers down at her. Judging by the way she was dressed, she had probably just woken up. Her long black hair wasn’t done up in her usual braid, no makeup on her face as well as no jewelry. She wasn’t hard on the eyes by any means as she stood there in an almost see through camisole set that barely held her breasts in it. Her flawless skin was a testament to her rigorous regimen of soaps, lotions and oils that she was always using daily. Regardless of her good looks, he still couldn’t bring himself to see her as anyone other than a sibling.

“No, I couldn’t sleep. I was actually on my way out, so move.” He steps forward and looks down at her with a frown.

“Please wait, Demetri. This won’t take long, I promise.” She offers him a smile that he doesn’t return. “I wanted to apologize for my behavior at our last meeting. I was out of line and if you wish to punish me I won’t stop you.”

Of course you wouldn’t, he thinks to himself as he looks down at her face again. He searches her expression for anything that seems to have a double entendre. When he doesn’t see one he sighs deeply and rolls his eyes before closing them, his head tilting back as he taps his hands on either side of his door frame.

“Fine. You are forgiven and no punishment is needed.” When he opens his eyes and lowers them down to look at her she has a defeated look on her face. And there it is. Good. Glad I could burst her bubble because I don’t have time for this. “I need to go talk to my father and you need to get back to bed. There are alot of new people walking around here that don’t need to be seeing you in your bed clothes.”

She grins brightly before she pulls her lower lip under her teeth to smile seductively. “Are you concerned that I might be taken advantage of?”

Demetri lets out a snort that causes her smile to falter. “No. Not at all. If anything I would have more concern for the man who ends up at the other end of your leash. Now move.”

Her smile slips into something a bit more wicked as she turns her back to him as she walks away towards her own room. “Fine. I will move. But if you are looking for your father, I am afraid you just missed him.”

Demetri’s voice is low and carries a distinctive growl. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, he left. Flew out on his private jet not 10 minutes ago. At least, that is what I heard. The Pride Father’s Cessna has a pretty distinctive engine sound, does it not?” She taps her left ear, her smirk maddening him to the point of wanting to follow her to her room just to kick her ass back into it. “Have a good night...brother.”

Demetri slams both of his doors shut before he does something he would most likely regret. Perhaps not at that particular moment in time, as he can see himself literally putting his large foot on her ass cheeks and shoving her back into her room. However, he was sure that later on he would have to do some sort of penance for his actions. Right now he was just angry at missing an opportunity to see what was going on in his house. After a few loudly shouted curse words he falls back onto his bed and stares at the ceiling of his room. He was definitely going to have to see what kind of information he could find on the Alpha named Vasili, a shifter that called his father an old friend.

Apparently, he is also an Alpha that could see him hiding in the darkness of shadows when his own father could not. With any luck he would find something that will shed some light on certain events. Or, quite possibly, only add more to the mystery that was now surrounding him like a heavy winter cloak.
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