9.110 – First step to recovery

Warning: LONG chap, 7K and 134 pics

This chapter includes a DINER I tweaked that Livvielove made for her story Faction of the Lost ones. Thanks for sharing love!! It was PERFECT for this chapter ❤

Also, I snatched a few of her wonderful children as background from her story Where the Willow Walks 😀

Annnnd haha I wrote this in December-January, and for the holidays I gifted myself by building a desktop! And in result significantly upgrading my simming experience lol. So about halfway through this chapter, I ended up switching to my new PC. You shouldn’t actually see any difference, but the pictures I take now ARE larger in size and so are of higher quality. If you can spot that KUDOS, if you can’t well that’s normal lol

Enjoy the read!

 

Nikolas’ POV

You know, I’ve been to my great grandparents’ home a grand total of two times, not including right now. Both times were in astral, we’ve never actually been here. My parents were big on having family and friends visit us, but my dad tended to avoid anything from James’ side of the family. That included Zyla and Simon, grandparents I’d only heard about idly at family reunions. The only reason we ever knew Alec was because he’d forcefully drop by for a visit. Some pretense of having something important to ask my parents, only to hang out with me or Niki in an attempt to woo us with his ‘accomplishments‘.

The only reason I did visit here in astral was because of James. First time, I wanted to see if they knew or were planning anything to save their son. I mean, their son, it felt like a no brainer. It was obvious that they’d have something planned. And if they did, it might’ve conflicted with what the Dragons were planning.

The second time was because I needed to know someone else was trying to defeat the Hans. These were two old vampires, one with golden eyes, they had to have something up their sleeve.

It was two very disappointing visits.

For the little time we had, James didn’t tell me much of this place. He was born in it, but was shipped off to a school and only saw it during holidays.

I can’t sleep.

First night out of the Hans…I tried. I laid in the bed, but I couldn’t even close my eyes. So I decided to pass the time by making it go backwards – get a little more history on this place. It was part of my ancestry, always nice to know these things.

Well turns out that additional vampire I saw in the Hans lab? The dead body? My great-great-grandpa, Velor Gold.

Just a tad freaky.

It was kind of entertaining to watch history unfold. Did you know I’m descended from a powerful tyrant family of vampires? The Gold family. It was a really big deal back then. There was only place for one golden eye, you had to kill your siblings to gain the throne. And Velor was the first one not to.

Well, ok, he killed his little sister, but he didn’t kill his older brother. Managed to convince everyone there was no point to it. Guess it set a precedent cause his daughter lifted that rule.

Or else Alec and James would’ve had to face off and I’ve got a feeling James would’ve won. Then where would we be? We only managed to get out with Alec’s help.

There’s not much pride to take in this heritage though, as Velor was…well even apart from a tyrant who killed his sister he slept with dozens of women that weren’t his wife and very flagrantly. That’s how he got my great-grandma. I get that fertility is a problem for vampires, but geez that’s a little much.

Plus Zyla married a coward. I got no better term for him. All he does is hide from what I’ve seen. Human turned vampire, you’d think that would give someone a courage boost.

And Zyla…look let’s just say that side of the family isn’t very impressive and I kind of get why my dad avoided them.

But, that side of the family is the one harboring and giving us shelter right now. I can’t start getting ungrateful here.

I could, because where were they when everything was going to shit?

But I shouldn’t.

I say we got out, we, we, we, but maybe I should stick to I, or Alec and I, because Sal clearly doesn’t want to be associated to me in any way.

I know I’m being childish about it, but…yes she’s spent a whole year in hell but why is she acting like that’s my fault? I’m not the one who blew up, or the one who got caught.

Er well, I did get caught, I mean it’s not my fault she got caught.

I groaned. Clearly my exhaustion caught up with me in astral.

Is it that she’s pissed I was a jerk to her ages ago? I’m not anymore. Or am I still?

Reaper, can we just move on from this?

I suppose she is wounded too. That would make anyone cranky.

Good to see at least one of us can sleep. I idly thought as I poked through her room.

Though it doesn’t seem like the best kind of sleep.

Hell it’s a very weird sleep.

I can see things through her!

I gaped at whatever was happening when suddenly the bed seemed to shimmer and she fell through, her eyes snapping open. She held onto the edge, the rest of her body somehow dangling through and coming out on the lower floor.

Shit,”

I jolted from my bed and sped to her room, opening the unlocked door with ease.

“Hang on Sal!” I said, for the duration it took me to reach her bed. I grabbed onto her arms and she looked up at me, her eyes still wide from the shock.

Once I spent a split second to make sure she wasn’t about to plummet to the floor below, I let go with one hand to snap my ring and mutter a word.

It lit up with a small diminished version of the levitation spell I was working on in my free time and I grabbed her arm again.

Her weight halved and I managed to hoist her up without any trouble.

“Are you alright?” I asked keeping a hold on her in case she fell through the floor again.

She stood silent, like she was also waiting to see if she’d glitch again. I noticed how her tattoo had grown. It’s only been a few hours since I last saw it.

Her hand hesitantly came to rest on my chest.

I wonder if she can feel my heart hammer in there, cause it’s acting like a fucking jack hammer right now.

She pushed at me slightly. “I’m fine.” She said, staring at her hand. “I was fine.”

I backed away an inch. “You slipped right through your bed.”

“Yes, I know, I was there.” She said pushing at me again. I let her go.

“It’s due to your tattoo isn’t it?” I picked up, noticing as her hand inched to her wound. “Some kind of phasing like power?”

“I’m good you can go.” She said, looking at the wall behind me, avoiding my eyes.

“Maybe I should stay in case it bugs out on you again,” I tried to joke.

“I said I’m fine.” She sighed impatiently.

I stood frowning. I don’t get it.

“Niko leave.” She snapped, taking such a strong step forwards that I found myself reflexively taking a step back.

“Okay, okay, jeez.” I backed up and exited her room. I couldn’t even attempt to change her mind as she followed me to the door to close it behind me.

I stared glumly at it before shrugging.

It’s nearly dawn, I can get away with doing my morning jog right now.

I slowly began to grin, suddenly realizing that I finally could do my morning jog now that I wasn’t stuck in a cubic cell. Seems that’s all I had this last year, obstacles against something as simple as a morning jog.

***

Salandra’s POV

I fiddled with the handle, looking for a way to lock the door. A house full of vampires apparently couldn’t be bothered with locked doors. Probably something dumb about trust and faith. I flicked on the light and moved away from the door, catching my reflection in the mirror.

Or more the reflection of a girl still working on adrenaline.

Look at that awful taint on her shoulder too. I wish she’d stop looking at me that way. I’m not used to looking at her face.

I found myself reaching for an object to throw at the mirror, realizing it in time to not.

I approached the hunched over and wounded figure instead, taking in the details of her face with more attention than I had the five seconds I’d glanced at her in Ashlynn’s house.

She’s thin to me. Her face feels gaunt. She needs to eat more.

She also needs to stop having nightmares and waking up by falling through her bed.

A phase power huh, the Hans curse me again. I get the feeling I’ll have more control over this one however. It might not be as easy to blow up with it.

Tattoos are such weird things. It’s impossible to visually discern a normal one from a magic one.

I took in a breath, flashing myself a grin.

All in due time, right now I can focus on waking up. Strange isn’t it? I can actually look forward to a breakfast.

Oh I hope they have eggs, that would be a great way to start this day.

The tattoo squirmed underneath my skin and I grimaced. If yesterday was any indication, I’m going to be on my knees a lot again.

But I won’t let it deter me. I can easily deal with some pain. Being locked in a tiny square? That I’ve reached my limit.

Time to loot this room, Alec said we could so there’s no reason not to.

The closet has a nice variety of normal shirts and hoodies. I’m not a fan of hoodies, but today I felt a little like cuddling up. It is summer though. I might be better off with one of the simpler shirts. With a simple pair of jeans should be nice. Oh I do like that top.

I grinned, relishing in the simple act of choosing something to wear.

It took me half an hour of splaying clothing around and weighing all the possibilities. It was a delightful game and when I finished, I couldn’t wait to start again tomorrow.

It was only seven am when I made my way downstairs.

I snuck around in the spacious kitchen opening the cupboards and the fridge.

What am I limited to? Am I limited at all?

Well yes I am, considering the food available in this house is minimal. Apart from some tater tots, cereal and dried pasta, the fridge was filled with plasma juices-

Oh what’s this? A box with my name on it?

I opened it and was delighted to see some bread, eggs and cucumbers.

As if on cue, Nikolas’ uncle joined me in the kitchen.

“Ah yes,” he began as he watched me cook the eggs. “It was all I could do on short notice. I was going to go grocery shopping today. You can give me a list of what you’d like before I go.” He added, stifling a yawn.

“Thank you,” I smiled, cracking an egg open on the stove.

“You’re really active for someone who got stabbed. It doesn’t hurt?”

“It does, but sitting around doing nothing hurts more.”

“Fair enough.” He shrugged, leaning on the counter.

The front door opened and we both looked towards the sound. A big wall was blocking my view, but from the looks of it that wasn’t stopping Alec from checking who it was.

He pushed himself off the counter. “Nikolas is back.” He told me before leaving to greet him I’m sure.

I scraped at my meager omelet, keeping my breathing low and silent.

I want to hear.

“…..ing….”

“..chen…od..”

Well they used words. I can tell that much.

I stared down at my food, a heavy question suddenly weighing down on me.

I’m out. What do I do now?

I’m going to flip this egg pancake.

***

Alec’s POV

“How did this happen? Did you run into a flagpole?” I asked reaching to poke at his bloody nose.

Nikolas recoiled with a grimace. “No.”

“No judgement here if you did.”

I waited five seconds, but it didn’t seem like he wanted to share. “Well everything you need to clean up is in your bathroom. We’re going to be downstairs eating breakfast.”

“It was just-” He began, before catching himself. He wiped his nose again before he gave me a polite nod. He headed into James’ old room before I could prod anymore.

I paused at my parent’s room.

I could sense they were both awake so I allowed myself to knock on the heavy door.

“You can come in Alec.”

My mother was laid down in her bed, already looking a lot healthier and in control than earlier.

“She had trouble keeping the plasma down, but she’s doing a lot better now. I think it was on purpose. She doesn’t want to abuse of our stores.” My father chuckled to himself.

I doubted that intensely. My mother could act the saint very well, but this was still her trying to starve herself. I opted to keep that to myself. My father hardly seemed in a better place mentally than her.

“Yeah speaking of your stores, they’re terrifyingly low. You’ve barely got enough for a few months.” I pointed out.

“Yes. It’s the Hans.”

“The Hans came and stole all your plasma bags?”

Simon turned to me, his impatience at my remark clear. It’s gotten shorter and shorter with the years. Or was it ever there to being with?

“They blocked off transport between cities. Most of our suppliers can’t reach us. We’re relying on local products. And every vampire in town relies on our stores.”

“Great.” I mumbled. “You should come say hi to Niko. He’s your great grandson and he was there when James died.”

Simon turned back to Zyla with a drawn out soft sigh. “James.”

It’s just a word, just a name…my parents were furious with James for a very long time…but I can still hear more love for him in that one breath than they’ve ever directed at me.

It’s hard to be jealous of a dead guy.

Even more pitiful coming from them.

***

Nikolas’ POV

I nibbled on my piece of bread taking odd glances at Salandra while doing my best not to look at her. Can’t believe I went ahead and forgot this morning, this girl’s blatant comment. That’s right we’re not friends. Friends worry about each other, friends forgive, friends help each other, but nope she made that clear yesterday. We’re not friends, I should’ve let her fall through the ceiling, clearly.

The most annoying part was how she hadn’t even glanced at me the whole breakfast. Let alone apologized or mentioned her rude response to me basically saving her from injuring herself even further. Bordering masochist here and it’s only been a day.

“This is great isn’t it?” Alec broke the silence. He’d decided to sit there and watch us eat. “Niko got to go run outside without fear of the Task Force nabbing him.”

“Yeah it was great.” I mumbled.

“Is that why you punched yourself in the nose?” Sal asked.

So she had looked at me. “I didn’t punch myself. Someone else clearly did.”

“Essentially the same. You asked for it. ” She added.

I frowned.

Is she really calling me a masochist? Pot calls kettle black much.

“At least I don’t swing myself against glass.”

Salandra flipped her plate at me and it hit my head, eggs splattering in my hair. Oh and they say I have a temper.

Alec cleared his throat as I flicked most of the egg out of my hair with a scowl. “How was feeding yourself? I don’t know about you guys, but the plasma the Hans had tasted cheap and artificial.”

“I forgot eggs could taste so good.” I could hear the grin in her voice. I grumbled to myself instead of sending another shot. Who knows, she might get up just to find something else to throw at me.

“Being in my own clothing too…” Alec continued, hugging himself. “The Credant family was really sweet to share their clothes, but no offense, I prefer my own.”

“Having such a wide choice felt like a dream!” Salandra picked up. “I don’t think I’ve ever taken so long to choose what to wear.” She chuckled. “Well, there might’ve been one time, but that feels like ages ago now.”

“Same!” Alec gleefully exclaimed. “I tossed all my pants and shirts on the bed. It was like a mosaic!”

I slowly drifted down onto the table, a wave of fatigue washing over me as I heard them bond over their mutual freed state.

I didn’t sleep much.

Or did I? Bah I don’t remember.

“Oh and a mirror!” She picked up again. “After not seeing yourself for a whole year…”

“I know, I really missed my gorgeous face. You could only see so much in the reflection of the

“Alright, alright but in your condition we’re taking a car. For my condition too, that’s still a summer sun out there. Niko do you want to come along? Oh looks like he fell asleep. Ah that’s fine, he might even still be here when we come back.”

***

Salandra’s POV

The blue-haired vampire gestured at the buildings outside the window as he spoke, still insistent that we take this car instead of walking. I can take a little bit of pain. I’m tired of being inside a can.

“That’s where my sister and I would buy our electronics.” He continued, nostalgically.

I tapped my hand three times against the door before I felt a buzz go through my arm, letting my hand phase through. It’s curious, and I’m starting to see it as less and less of the curse it is.

I mean it is one, but maybe one I can make good use of this time. This time.

I looked to the vampire as I noticed he’d stopped talking. He was glancing at me, noticing my hand calmly.

I feel…unnerved.

The car parks and distracts me.

“Here we are! We can walk a bit just like you wanted. While we’re at it we can find someplace to eat.” Alec said, exiting the vehicle.

I followed suit and stared at his back skeptically. He turned to me and I narrowed my eyes further at him.

I’m unnerved because…

“Whatever you want, I’m not picky.” He snorted. “I’m not poor either.” He added, leaning in. “Borrowed a bit from my dad, you can treat yourself to anything you want. Let’s get you a real first meal out of prison.”

It feels genuine.

Sweet mother why am I so shaken by this?

“Then I better make it count.” I smirk as we started walking.

“Don’t hesitate to take breaks. There’s no point in reopening your wound over and over again.” He insists and this time I nod.

“I agree.”

It doesn’t feel like…it feels genuine. I can’t put any other word to it. It doesn’t feel like I need to put on a show.

Words can come later; I’ve decided I quite like Alec.

“Nice shave by the way.” I wink.

He grins. “God right? Finally get to shave as I want, when I want.”

“Nice slippers too.”

“Look who’s talking, you don’t even have shoes on.” He shot back.

“I tried, I put them on, but oof…after a year of never having anything on my feet, it’s going to take adjusting.”

“I feel you, hence slippers because I still have terribly sensitive feet. I’m not going to subject them to the steaming hot sidewalk. By the way I can almost feel my skin melting off, so whenever you find a restaurant you like, that’d be great.”

“I’ve never actually seen someone melt.” I mused, looking at the options a little harder.

“Alright I lied, we spontaneously combust.”

I looked inside the next restaurant, a simple diner with lots of happy joyful people slobbering their faces with greasy food. I leaned on the window, shamelessly staring at these oblivious people. Eating, eating, laughing and chortling, the grease dribbling down their chins.

God I want to be them right now.

My tattoo decides to have a spasm right at that instant, making my body tense and phase right into the window.

Before I know it the ground is barreling towards me and I’m flailing for something to grab onto.

Floor, floor, stop

My pulse calms down and I look down to see my legs dangling through the floor. I pull myself up as quickly as I can.

I can phase through anything. What happens if I phase through the floor and I don’t stop? Where would I stop falling?

Hmm, it’s oddly quieter? Oh yes of course, I just came crashing in through the window. I take a bow as Alec opens the door with a ding.

“Your dull lives have just been enriched with a story to share with your friends! You’re welcome.” I say plainly and the ones who’d looked up at me rolled their eyes and went back to their meals.

The cook however has her intense eyes glued on me.

I grimace. For a lot of reasons, and one of them is the wound in my side protesting from all this movement. “We’d like your finest table.” I add to the nearest waiter.

He snaps out of it and with a quick glance back at the cook, gestures at a table in the corner.

“That’s one way to make an entrance.” Alec snorts.

“I just wish I could say it was on purpose.” I mumble. I catch an old lady’s gaze and I sneer at her. She looks away quickly.

“Tattoo’s not very nice huh,” Alec started up, leaning back in his chair.

“You can say that again. It’s got a mind of its own to torture me.” I groaned.

“But at least you can phase apparently. Unless that’s something you could do before?”

“Definitely not, I think I’d know. It is a bit of a silver lining.” I say, passing my hand through the table. I’m getting the hang of this, and rapidly. If only my tattoo would stop having its hiccups. “Just a touch worrying when I can phase through the floor.”

“Hey if it gets you to the other side of the world faster.” Alec shrugged.

 

“What would you like?” The waiter asked. His hair was the exact bright shade of orange as the cook’s, but he was lot more scrawny. Jittery too.

He kept trying not to look at me.

I leaned across the table and flashed my eyes at him. “True love’s kiss.”

His cheeks flushed and I grinned.

“As for me, I’ll take chicken wings dipped in pickle juice thanks.” Alec said and I snorted.

“Really just that?” I asked as the waiter looked confused at his pad. “Look at him, he’s such a tasty morsel, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind letting you take a sip.”

“I-um,” He looked between us, clearly unsure of how to handle this.

“Eh, not my type.” Alec shrugged.

“Crashing through my store,” A powerful voice joined. “bothering my clients, and now tormenting my son?”

The cook was standing beside her son, who quickly retreated behind her in relief.

“Pardon we haven’t talked to outside people in over a year. We don’t know how to be outside of prison.” I shrugged, tapping my finger on the table.

“You’re both looking a little flimsy for prison.” She said, crossing her arms. She nodded to her son and he skittered off.

“It was more of a prison of the mind.” I added.

“We’ve been held captive by the Hans for over a year.” Alec supplemented.

“I’ve had people with 20 years on their belt away from society with better manners than you.” She stated. She leaned on the table then and I was afraid the weight of her arm alone would tilt it.

“That’s hardly fair, I’m not nearly old enough to compete with 20 years. Pick a more reasonable comparison.” I said.

“You caused a big mess that my sons have to clean up now.” She stated. I glanced behind her at the small things I might’ve knocked over on my way through the window.

“That’s not what I’d call a bi-”

“I’m going to have to ask you to work for the damages.”

“Work?” I repeated, staring blankly at her. Work. I used to work once upon a time. I used to have to answer to demanding and touchy bosses. Anything for money right? Anything for my mother.

Because Chase couldn’t be bothered.

I snapped back to the conversation as Alec picked it up.

“Can we find an alternative? She’s really wounded and shouldn’t be moving around at all. We have money, how much would it cost?” He gave me a small wink.

The woman looked down at me and I gave a sheepish smile.

Work.

“It’ll have to do for now. Come back when you’re healed. You’ll pay me back then.” She stated firmly.

I pursed my lips, but nodded just slightly.

Sure.

***

Jogging was pathetic this morning. Maybe it’s cause Nato usually warns me when I’m about to slam into something.

I was just…really lost in my thoughts.

She didn’t need to be so rude and defensive. I was just helping her!

 “Hey watch it kid!”

 “Maybe you shouldn’t stand in my way like a dunce.”

 “What did you call me brat?”

 “Bugger off fat ass I’m jogging here.”

 

Yeah I guess I did ask for it.

I sighed and sat back in my chair, the restlessness starting to get to me.

I shouldn’t get so angry that she doesn’t want my help. I’m not any better.

I mean, maybe a little bit better.

But

Probably not.

I snorted at myself and got up, tossing the plate into the sink. It made for a small precision practice for my levitation spell.

I’ve been working on it ever since Aleccas showed me how to lift a protection bubble. I just had to extract the lifting part. Still took me months to figure out how that worked, but I was thinking, right, if I master this it could be the equivalent of having telekinesis!

I just haven’t managed to overcome the obstacle of needing to come in contact with the object I want to move right before I cast my spell on it. And the bigger the spell, the less I can let go.

Plates are easy, human bodies though…I have managed to find a loophole for myself though, by casting the spell on my shoes. It’s not levitation, but it works well on water.

I stand still as my plate falls in the sink.

And that’s all I do.

I’m at a loss for what to do.

A huge immense mansion and all I can think of all of a sudden is the Dragons. Of the people who made it out, of how I left things with Zac, of Oscar and Jesse, of Nato, of the mystery Tatiana and I were working on. Of Aleccas and Ara both trying to teach me things, and me just being too self-involved to be grateful.

I slump in front of the tv and I turn it on the news, only to hear about how the Cloverfield lab has gone down. Ashlynn and the group were successful. They managed it! They freed the others. And I stayed here refusing to help out of pettiness. Because I wanted to hear them say they wanted my help.

I sink into the couch.

I’m really depressing myself today.

I looked around the huge empty area. Weird to think this place was a lot more attractive and busy under a tyrannical rule. But I heard the topside pales compared to the downstairs caches.

A slow grin found its way to my face.

Francon Gold is the vampire who built this mini empire in Legacy Island II. He’s the one who built this stronghold of treasures, but it’s his son, Velor Gold, who filled it up. The man indulged and caused several wars during his lifetime, enough that he’s the reason this end of the continent town despised supernaturals for a good few decades. Everything he stole from them and gained in his victories he stored here.

From what I saw, he boasted high and mighty that the Weapon was his biggest catch. That’s what they called the lizard-eyed girl back then. All I managed to glean was that she’s immortal and strong as hell.

Big place like this? With hundreds of years worth of loot? I doubt a teenage girl was the best part.

“Ry?” The white ghostly form of a girl asked in a whispy voice. “Liam?”

Hope oozed from her as she hopped off her perch and curiosity pulled me inside this new room. She seems oddly familiar.

“I’ve missed you. I’m so very bored Ishta. It’s so very hard. Come to me!” She extended her arms and I eyed her with more curiosity.

She’s not real or a ghost for that matter. But whatever she is, she’s got my astral acting up. I shouldn’t be able to see her.

“My name is Niko.”

“Liam, Liam, Liam, I did everything you said. But you didn’t keep your promise. ”

“What promise?”

“You said we’d destroy them together. Come closer Niko, come. Help me.” She gestured towards herself with impatience. Her use of my name made this act of hers show its true nature, just an act.

“What are you?”

“Accept me. Welcome me to your side. Help me! I’ve been so patient.” She wailed.

And then it finally clicked for me. “Of course! I do know you, you’re the spitting image of my aunt Catarina. Though a younger version clearly. Why’s that?” I asked, walking around her.

She grimaced at the mention of my aunt and humphed then. “I don’t have my own.”

“So you know her?”

“I’m not here to sate your curiosity. If you won’t accept to be my vessel carry on. I can see the resemblance with her. You’re just as rude. ” She declared, turning her back on me.

She’s not the first to say that to me. That creature I saw in astral, attached to my uncle’s amulet said the same.

That’s fine, talking isn’t the only way to gain information. I rewound time at a decent speed, keeping a look out for any movement around the device she was orbiting.

I only saw a few people enter this room until I saw James himself drop the device in the middle of the area.

Small bits of overheard conversation during the parties my parents would host came to me then. On more than one occasion, my aunt and my dad would bond over bitching about James and how they met. Something about James searching the world for a witch that wasn’t Xavier to help Catarina get through something.

From there, the dots were easy to connect. A parasite trapped in a shiny device. See! I knew there was more to see here.

I started to bring time back to normal as I deducted what must’ve happened to my aunt ages ago, lazily watching the scenery unfold.

No one came down here anymore. I spotted Alec once or twice, and my father as well the one time he left on that ‘extended’ business trip of his.

And then I spotted someone I didn’t recognize. I’d had a quick glimpse during the rewind, but I took my time for the way back.

It was a woman I didn’t recognize – and unless I can’t tell my left from right, she was pillaging. Grabbing some things and tossing them to the side and pocketing the more interesting trinkets.

I gaped, a little incredulous at this obvious robbing – recent as well.

I came back to the present, wondering whether my great grandfather knew he was getting robbed.

I have nothing better to do, so I might as well make sure he does.

I found him upstairs, in his room with Zyla. He welcomed me inside after a single knock.

“Hi.” I said as I looked at Simon leaned over his alchemy table. Zyla was on the bed napping. Both comfortable in their little bubble. These were James’ parents. It was hard to see it in astral and even harder in person. “I’m Nikolas.”

I awkwardly felt the need to specify. How am I to know if he remembers me from pictures? Might as well introduce myself to everyone I see at this rate.

“Is everything okay?” Simon asked, not tearing his attention away from his table.

Straight to the point, I can appreciate that. I guess. Still, I can tell I’m looking for something to complain about him. If only to bring back how he left James to rot.

But I’m not uncontrollably hot headed like Salandra so clearly implied. I can keep an unbiased viewpoint. I’m not in highschool anymore. I haven’t graduated highschool either and probably won’t at this rate, but that’s another matter.

“Absolutely marvelous. I just came up to warn you about something. I went into your basement -” I started, wondering how much I wanted this man to know about my astral power. I didn’t need to make a rapid decision as he cut me off.

“The basement? Don’t go down there. It’s got nothing good.” He said, finally turning to look at me.

Cutting me off for that? “Um okay, there were just some trinkets, but I saw-” He seemed to get offended by this enough to cut me off again.

“Trinkets? More death magnets! There’s a lot of dangerous things down there. Avoid them.” He said, looking at me as if I’d already thrown all his favorite vases out the window.

I frowned a bit. “Yes I got that part the first time. I think we agree that dangerous things can be attractive to certain people though and-”

His face grew sterner. “Yes I heard you don’t know the difference between interesting and risky.”

I froze, all thought of graciously warning him about his robber gone. “You heard…?”

He softened a little then and stepped towards me, seeing how defensive I’d gotten. “There’s nothing in that basement that will be of interest to you Nikolas. Feel free to go everywhere in the house, but please avoid the basement.”

The family really did view me as a black sheep. A bug that kept annoying them. Passing each other warnings on how to deal with that overactive Nikolas. How to keep him away from important things cause everyone seems to die around him.

“You heard some things about me? And now you’ve made this decision that I’m some careless naive brat that would toss around explosives if it sounded cool? I bet the words troublemaker came with those rumors. You’ve never met me and you-” My voice started to rise and he cut me off sharply, again.

 “Keep your voice down! She’s resting! I heard these things from your father himself. Fair warnings from what I can see. I’m going to ask you to le-”

Too late, I’m boiling now. “My father?! Xavier the oh so powerful witch with a sixth sense has been imprisoned for the last year. Tell me, when you have the title of the most powerful witch alive, I think we can agree that not much can keep you captive.” I could tell by the way Aleccas talked. I could tell with what I knew. My dad has had precedents. “He’s run away while the Hans took over and everything went to shit. He’s willingly stayed away for this entire time. But maybe that’s why you blindly trust what he says!” I said, my voice rising higher as Simon moved to interject. “You’re a coward just like he is. Where were you when James was in trouble? When everyone was? Here hiding and lamenting I bet. ”

“You’re a spoiled child. Leave.” He snapped, shaking his head.

I scowled.

I know.

“You were his dad. And you left him to rot.”

“Leave the house! You’re no longer welcome here.” He shouted, gesturing at the door.

“Fine by me! I don’t want a coward’s charity.”

I grimaced as I stomped through the house and outside.

That’s some big words self. Almost sounded like you were calling yourself out.

Coward.

Salandra’s right I haven’t changed. I still can’t keep my temper in check.

***

No one’s POV

 

Alec and Salandra got back to the Gold mansion, hands filled with groceries and new wardrobes for both. They dropped their cargo in the kitchen where they were surprised to find Simon wandering and talking on the phone. Once he spotted them he hung up. He gave a glance at everything they’d bought and then smiled.

“How was your day?” He asked.

“Productive to say the least.” Alec grinned.

“Nearly got kicked out of three stores.” Salandra proudly stated. “If it wasn’t for Alec we would’ve been in every single one.”

Alec snorted at that and began to put the groceries away. “Where’s Nikolas? Last we left him he was taking a much needed nap on the table.”

“Would’ve gone to take a shower if I were him.” Salandra said, tossing some things in the cupboard.

“I kicked him out.” Simon hesitantly admitted.

Alec expected Sal to laugh and ask what he’d done, but instead she slowed in her movements to stare at Simon.

“What happened?” Alec asked.

“We got into an argument and he was being disrespectful so I told him to leave and that he wasn’t welcome. It was an unnecessary reaction of mine. You can tell him he can come back. He just needs to stay away from the basement.” He added. Under his son and guest’s silence, Simon excused himself and left the room.

Alec glanced at Salandra who had opted to dig around in her bags. “Somebody is going to have to tell him he can come back inside.”

“I’m sure he’ll come back on his own. He’s a big boy. We don’t even know where he went. I’m going to drop these in my room. ” Salandra grabbed her bags.

“Well, I think he knew Simon wasn’t sincere. He’s still on the property.” Alec added.

Salandra headed upstairs without another word, putting away the day’s prizes. Once she finished, however, she found herself drawn to her window and low and behold…

There was Nikolas, laid down on the grass, appreciating the afternoon sun.

To be fair, the young man in question was hardly appreciating anything at all. He was stuck in a mental whirlpool of his own making. Stuck between his vision of who he wanted to be and the reality of who he was.

He’d spent the better part of the year fighting and stating that he wanted to do everything he could to help fight against the Hans.

Now it was sinking in that while he hated the Hans and all the things they were putting into motion, everything he had done really had purely been acting out. He’d wanted to do things to prove he wasn’t the cowardly observer his father was. He’d fought carelessly against the restrictions imposed by the Hans because he didn’t like being told what to do. Even with all his friends telling him to be careful, that they didn’t want him to get hurt, he’d recklessly tested the limits.

And for what? Because he’d had his fill of being submitted to things he had no control over?

He’d gotten caught in the end and it had changed nothing.

Maybe it all boiled down to the reason he’d get into fights in school.

A childish need for attention.

Nikolas let out a long drawn out sigh, tired of hearing himself think.

Where was the reset button? The wipe slate clean button?

And could someone shut off the sun? Nikolas was getting tired of squinting under the sunlight.

“My, my, is that Niko? Brooding?” Salandra asked taking him by surprise.

“It’s called introspection.”

“Sounds hard. Don’t over-extend yourself.” Niko’s sunblock teased.

He rolled his eyes, purposefully looking away. You’d think after all these years he’d be used to the intensity of her gaze.

“I’m sorry about earlier,” He said, pushing himself up.

She slowly sat down beside him, as to not abuse of her wound as she’d already done all day.

“You still have egg in your hair.”

“Eh, it’s purposeful. I smell good now.” He shrugged and Sal snort. He grinned, brushing the remaining food out of his hair. “Truthfully just too lazy to take another shower.”

“That does waste a lot of water.”

“So, how was shopping?” He tempted.

“Really now, small talk?”

“You’re the one who started it.” He bounced back.

“Only to you bringing up earlier.” She snapped right back.

“You’re right. There’s something I wanted to tell you.” Nikolas started, carefully forming the words in his brain.

Salandra looked at him, saying nothing. He took that as a sign he could continue on.

Nikolas opened his mouth, unsure of how to start really. He’d thought about it all day on and off, but it still felt like he was going to trip over himself some way or another.

“Maybe you should feed that hamster in your brain first.” She said.

Nikolas took in a breath. “I know that for some reason you don’t believe that I forgave you for what went down a year ago. You’ve got some grand ideas about the reasons behind my actions, so I wanted to prove to you that I don’t hold what happened against you. Not anymore.”

Salandra rolled her eyes. “Oh great.”

Nikolas ignored her comment. “I was pissed for a very long time, but I see it now. It wasn’t your fault.”

She looked at him in disbelief.

“Everything was completely out of your control. You were going through a tough time and the Hans imposed on you a bomb that you couldn’t defuse. It’s their fault. You couldn’t do anything about it.”

Salandra scoffed as Nikolas awaited her reply.

“You’ve got some nerve Niko. You’re trying to take away my free will? Don’t take that credit away from me. I am responsible for all those deaths.” She shook her head sadly.

“Man they’d be so ashamed of you.” She continued. “Think about what Veronica or Lucas would say, seeing you desperately trying to forgive their murderer because you’re that in need of a friend.”

“They’re dead, what they have to say doesn’t matter. And I do, yes I do want to be your friend. Even if you seem adamant against it.”

She rolled her eyes and got up, Niko followed suit. “Just stop digging Niko, your hole might still be manageable.”

He heaved an annoyed sigh. “I never fail to say exactly the right stuff to annoy you don’t I?”

“You got it.” She sent him a condescending smirk.

His shoulders sagged a bit as he watched her go. “Wait,” He tempted, reaching out and grabbing her arm.

His grasp vanished as she made her arm phase.

She spun, shoving her finger in his face. “Don’t touch me.” She hissed.

His eyes hardened. “A little hypocritical don’t you think? If I apparently need a friend, so do you. Maybe friends isn’t really what we need. Maybe we just need someone to help keep us in check.”

She snorted. “Oh really now? You think I need to be kept in check? This is what annoys me the most Niko. Your fucking pity. I don’t want it. You can shove it up your ass.”

“And I don’t want your condescendence, but we can’t all have what we want can we?” He said, ending with a smirk.

She raised her nose up slightly. “Ha, funny guy.”

Nikolas tried to contain himself, but failed. “Yeah I’m a…fungi.”

Salandra narrowed her eyes at him with a small grin. She shoved at him. “Uhuh.” She said, casting him another amusingly annoyed glance before heading back for the house.

Uhuh.

 

About blamsart

♪They say it's what you make♪ I say it's up to fate ♪It's woven in my soul♪ I need to let you go♪ -- Demons by Imagine Dragons
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2 Responses to 9.110 – First step to recovery

  1. Livvielove says:

    Phooooo what a chapter for Sal.
    She’s a bit of a brat right now, I’ll admit, and while acting rude and condescending is definitely a side-effect of the Hans… it makes me think she might need some time to herself to heal up and stop this fight-or-flight mode.
    I wanted SO bad to sympathize with her, but honestly was put off by her for a lot of the chapter… however that’s not a bad thing. I don’t dislike her, just don’t approve of her ACTIONS. She’s still got a long road to haul, and I think maybe working for that diner might be good for her.
    Maybe she needs some routine…

    Niko on the other hand looks bored as hell. He can’t just sit around waiting to heal up. That’s just not like him… so… yes I think they should have a break before they either end up in some heated makeout sess that gets you gen 10 faster than a blink of an eye… or one/both ends up dead by the others hands from annoying each other too much. (snort)

    I still really love the banter between them, even if it is mega harsh. Sal is fucking gorgeous too.
    Also did me a squeal at the basement sequence. Simon is a dick, though. Funny, maybe it skipped a generation and hit Xav…

    This chapter was like SUPER emotionally charged and I feeeeel it. I’m so glad I can carry on to the next one for some RELEASE!

    Liked by 1 person

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