BAIT Part 2

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Nothing We Can Do

Bastian:

If my dad also knew, it meant my dad was hunting Amber. Not the girl from Taylors. He’d said it and I might has well have screamed her name at him, I reacted so clearly. So fucking stupidly.

I paced around the camp fire desperate to come up with a plan, while my uncle just patiently, and infuriatingly sat watching me.

“What are we going to do!”

“Nothing.”

“But he’s going to kill her?”

“Then you will be reunited in this world or the next.”

I turned to face him, fury and frustration making my everything shake, and saw him just watching me.

“But…”

“There is nothing we can do.”

I think I’d rather he had slapped me, or hit me with something. Pointing out the obvious truth seemed like it hurt more. I dropped onto my knees and stared into the fire.

“But he’s going to hurt.”

My voice was almost a whisper and I wondered for a moment if it was even a voice at all, but in that same moment Edward put a hand on my shoulder.

“He has to find her first, and before that he has to deal with your body, and probably recover. I’ve seen you fight, remember? And I imagine you didn’t go down easy. Even if you never really stood a chance.”

“Hey!”

I looked up quickly, that last bit felt a bit mean. Edward moved back to his log and sat.

“Bastian, how much do you know about being the Alpha?”

I rubbed my face and wondered why I kept taking long breaths, when I was clearly not actually breathing.

“I know that my father is it, and that I was going to become it, and that it’s a responsibility to be strong for the pack, and that our family believes in ruling through strength.”

“Well, you’re sort of right. Tell me about your fight with your father. Was it quick and savage, brutal, or long and punishing?”

I let my mind go back to my final moments, the arrogance of thinking I was winning, the realisation that I really didn’t stand a chance.

“It wasn’t quick at the start, I even thought I was doing well for a moment. Then it seemed like he was done with me and it ended pretty suddenly after that.”

“And what do you remember from that moment, just before it changed?”

I thought again, and a curious feeling came over me.

“His eyes, they, they flashed green.”

“Have they ever done that before?”

“No, but yours had. Come to think of it, if my dad could take me out like that why did he need my help to take you down?”

A smile spread over my uncle’s face and he let out another long pointless breath.

“Being the Alpha, it’s not just being the pack leader, it’s a mantle of power that makes you an order of magnitude stronger than your average werewolf.”

“Ok?”

“And while you father is now the Alpha, he wasn’t always.”

“What, what are you saying?”

“When our father died, I became the Alpha. The mantle moved to me, not him. But I wasn’t interested in being the pack leader, or engaging with society at all. So, I let him tell everyone it was him, and I left the world. He got what he wanted, sort of, and I did I.”

“So, he did actually need my help to fight you, because he, at that point, really couldn’t have taken you alone.”

“If I had really tried, neither of you could have. But I was so disconnected. Since being dead, I am, ironically, much more alive as a person. And my selfishness has led to your father now having the power he’s been desperately compensating for all these years.”

A lot of things suddenly made sense. The constant need for savagery, the anger, the frustration. Everything my dad prided himself on being was a lie, and it didn’t matter than no one knew, he knew.

“If it makes you feel any better,’ my uncle continued, ’I think you probably would have won the fight if not for the mantel. It sounds like he tried first to just fight you and only turned to the power when he realised he was losing.”

“What about, what about the Elders? Did they know? And why did we go after you now? He said you had been seen in human form?”

“The Elders are something else again. I don’t know much about them honestly, but I can tell you that you don’t become an Elder just by being old. And no, I think your father sensed that you were getting stronger and decided he needed the mantel to hang onto his title.”

The fight in The Pitt, he’d been testing me but not to see if I was good enough to help him, but good enough to beat him.

“Fuck. Fuck!”

My whole body erupted in what felt like electric goosebumps, and I screamed out into the infinite nothing. He’d lied to me, AGAIN! He’d manipulated me, AGAIN!

He’d told me he was proud of me, to lower my defenses, and he’d actually … he’d actually tried to kill me.

The world around me went dark, and I don’t mean I fainted, the sky grew suddenly black. My rage burned through me and a hurricane of dark clouds whipped around me from nowhere. It felt like it was born from my rage, and maybe it was. I was dead after all.

Then a hand found my shoulder again, and my uncle wrapped his arms around me in a hug that felt more honest and genuine than any moment in the 22 years I had spent with my dad.

I didn’t know why I kept taking long breaths, I didn’t know if my breathing was even real, but my tears were.


Amber:

We drove in silence, which was actually pretty normal for us. Whenever Frankie and I had taken road trips we’d talk all the way to the car then just travel in comfortable silence until we got to where we were going. Or until I needed to pee.

The whole thing felt so familiar that by the time we arrived I’d almost forgotten he was a vampire. That was until I saw the scary mansion, that looked more like it came straight out of a weird horror movie.

“Where are we?”

“My new home.”

He slipped out and held the door for me. For a long moment I sat frozen, confused and terrified by the situation I’d walked into. But he had asked me to trust him, and I still did. He hadn’t done anything to make me not. So, I got out of the car and followed him into the house.

The inside was beautiful, like every dream castle fairy tale fantasy I’d ever had. Everything was carved out of wood and the whole place seemed to shine.

“Amazing right?”

“Yeah, …. Yeah.”

Frankie took my hand and started leading me room by room showing me the whole place. Which was adorable, because he didn’t really know anything about it either. But he knew that I’d like it and that I was clearly overwhelmed, so kept pointing out cool little details.

But I knew that if I could find words to ask questions, he wouldn't know the answers. It was sweet though, but also confusing. Eventually though I did manage to say.

“How, why is this your home now?”

“Oh, because it's the home of the woman who turned me. She brought me here and told me that I can stay, or maybe that I have to stay. It's all pretty new.”

A cold feeling came over me, and some of the magic of the place disappeared.

“Why are you showing me all of this?”

A nervous and maybe a little innocent look flashed over his face, like I’d never seen before.

“Because, I was, thinking, hoping that you’d come and live here with me too. That we could put this last week behind us and start new here, together. Forever.”

He then dug in his pocket and pulled out a small velvet box, dropped onto one knee and said.

“Amber, will you marry me.”

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