Writer Notes: As I said on Tumblr, there cannot be AU without one “dream sequence.” This chapter also has flashbacks to not disappoint. It is shorter in length than other recent chapters, but we are nearing the end of Book 2. Only one more chapter to go.
Warnings: Photoshopping for effects, long-haired Latimere, bunch of green aliens, and mild language.
“Do you remember the first time we met?” Lizabeth LaBelle asked. Latimere felt himself relax at the sound of her voice. Her sweet perfume was light and welcoming. She was there with him in this abyss. He was not alone in the end. He found it comforting.
“Yes,” he answered. “Other masters had captured and brought you to my home. They planned to execute you.”
“I often contemplate why they brought me to you.” LaBelle said. “Was it a sign of respect? You had not hunted me, mon supérieur. None of Greenbrooke Estates had, but they brought me to you.”
“They argued for what felt like hours.” she continued. “Both desired the same thing, my death; yet, they were too, how would you say? Fier? Too proud to let the other have the right to my head.”
“You did not argue with them.” she laughed. “Instead you did something, you would one day regret.”
“No, my Lizabeth, I would never regret it.” he returned.
“You needed me, and I’ve come to realize, I needed you.”
“I don’t regret our time together,” Latimere said. “Just that it was too short.”
“We could be together again.” she offered. “All you need to do is let go.”
He closed his eyes and inhaled her sweet perfume and considered it for a moment. All his life he fought for control and peace, but he hadn’t found it yet. He knew when the struggle ended. He knew what surrender meant. A millennium he lived caged, but even now, eons later, did he feel free?
No, a voice called. Not yet.
“You don’t deserve peace,” Queen Julia said.
“Not after what you did to us.” Her niece, Felicia echoed.
“Maybe my plans weren’t perfect. Maybe I won’t be reborn into this world through Julianna, but I will not let you weasel you’re way out of this one.” she growled. “You MUST die for what you did to me!”
Latimere rolled his eyes. “I did nothing to you.” he said. “You destroyed your life in desire of lust and power. What did that gain you, Julia, except what you deserved?”
“What about me?” Felicia asked. “Did I deserve to be tricked and lied to and sacrificed?”
“You didn’t deserve your fate,” he agreed.
“But truthfully, it had nothing to do with you.”
“And everything to do with her.”
“So you have a friend.” Latimere sighed. “You know it will not last. It never does with humans.”
“But I love her, brother.” Lacarra whimpered. “Please, do what you promised! You said we would make a court. You said we would have a family again. Can’t it start now? I’ve waited millenniums. Do this for me.”
“No,” he said and immediately regretted it. His poor little sister. She faced the world with him and suffered for it. All she wanted was something small in the grand scheme of things. A friend, a sister. She loved Felicia. She wanted them to be together forever.
Latimere gave in this time. Lacarra never complained or required much, but this she wanted. He would allow it. He valued his sister’s happiness, even above his own.
It was the sacrifice of a master, but also a choice that would lead to many deaths.
“And that’s the truth?” Felicia inquired.
“This was all really her fault?” Julia seemed confused.
“The past is done.” he said. “Begone ghosts. I have nothing else to give you. Spending your eternity with me, is real misery.”
No, the voice said. You forget real misery.
“What are you?” Latimere asked.
I am your caged beast. That little part of us that knows what we truly are. What we will always will be.
“What do you want?”
To simply remind you, it said.
Evil does not die. It just hibernates and waits for the second coming.
I’m always watching.
“Come on! We don’t have time for damn mind games!” Dahlila said. “Do you hear me? Latimere? Lati!”
He looked at her like she was another ghost, but that couldn’t be. She was alive.
“Dahlila, what are you doing here?”
“Wake the fuck up!”
“Did it work?” Coastal asked.
“He’s not screaming anymore.” Gregoral offered.
“Brother, come back to me.” Lacarra cried. “Please, don’t leave me!”
“…n…n-never…” he breathed. “…n-never, m-my dear l-little sss…sister.”
“Oh, Latimere,” Coastal shook her head in disbelief. They did it. A vampire had survived a fatal blow and they’d healed him.
“Dahlila?” he called.
“I’m here. Rest, Lati. I don’t want to go back in that head of yours.”
“The girl has promising powers.” Gregoral answered. “She saved your life, in a way. Your power has returned from her to you, but one has to wonder how she managed to survive that in the first place or you, for that matter. How did you survive Julianna’s blade? Does it have something to do with that spell book you’ve had in your possession for centuries?”
“Siren, please fetch Vaiden.” Latimere managed. “Coastal, do not let Gregoral near that book.”
“Please, Latimere,” Coastal shook her head. “We’ve been through so much. Gregoral has helped save you.”
“Evil does not die. It only hibernates and waits for the second coming.” Latimere recited. “And I will never give him that opportunity.”