I ran through the forest laughing as a flock of birds flew up crying out in fear. Father took the twins out for special training again. Usually, I would be sad and feeling left out, I was too happy to feel like that today though. Bran promised to take me hiking. Well, I was a little sad because mother got unexpectedly sick and couldn't come with us as she promised, but I was still excited to go with Bran.
He told me to stay in the house until he came to get me but since everyone was too busy doing something I got bored and decided to go look for him. The forest was bright and full of life, it seemed to reflect my excitement. I followed Bran’s scent, a scent that meant love and safety and happiness to me.
I finally caught up to him. I froze in place when I saw he wasn't alone. A tall man with brown hair and blue-green eyes stood next to him, they stood close, leaning against a tree together. The man had a suit on and a weird scent hung to him. The scent of blood and death that made me cringe, made me growl. That made them notice me.
“Oh guess we've been caught,” the man said with a smile showing his teeth. Instinctive fear gripped me as my body tried to make me run to safety. I knew only one safety and that was too close to the threat right now. I gave Bran a pleading terrified look. He pushed away from the tree immediately and ran to me, bringing me up into his arms.
“Hush boy it's alright, it's alright,” Bran whispered, stroking my back soothingly. “I thought I told you to stay in the house.”
“But everyone ignored me, I felt lonely,” I said quietly, still keeping my eyes on the weird man.
“Well my Sun, don't be rude, tell me who this adorable little guy is?” the man smiled.
“Stop it, don't even think about it.” Bran frowned at him, almost turning me away from the man. “I don't want you talking to him, you're too bad of an influence.”
“You seem to like my bad influence,” the man countered. I saw Bran go red and hide his face in my hair. I didn't like that. Was Bran scared of him? Why was he red? I turned to glare at the man, holding Bran close so the man couldn't get to him.
“Oh my! He sure is Alistair's son!” the man laughed, obviously impressed by my glare.
“Go Baz, I don't want you near Reid,” Bran said after regaining his composure.
“You break my heart, Sun, are you ashamed of me?” the man pouted.
“No… But he is too precious to me.” I watched the man over Bran’s shoulder as he carried me back to the house. The man gazed at Bran’s back with loving gentle eyes.
No… No! No way! That couldn't have happened. That simply wasn't possible! Bran would never… Not with a vampire! Bran was… I desperately pushed the memories away. I was only four then, I could be remembering wrong. Yet more and more similar memories of me catching Bran with Baltazar seeped into my mind.
“You're lying!” I couldn't help but turn an angry look at him. They both looked up at me in confusion. “I don't know what game you two are playing but Bran would never waste his time with a vampire!” I growled feeling my eyes turn silver gray.
“Reid,” Father tried to shut me up but I couldn't care less.
“Bran was the perfect loyal wolf!” I said. “He would never…”
“Oh, sweet Reid…” Baltazar sighed. “It seems Bran really did achieve what he wanted. Raising his precious Reid without ever showing him the darkness inside.” His eyes went dark again, this time mimicking my anger. “I hate you so much for that. You have no idea how many times I thought of killing you!” I tensed as his muscles rippled as if he couldn't decide if he should attack or not. Then he sighed and curled in on himself on the armchair looking like a ball of misery. “In the end, his love for you was greater than his love for me.” He fell silent. His whole frame seemed to shake but no tears came.
Father sighed. “Thank you, Baltazar,” he said, and grabbing my shoulder he practically pushed me out of the room.
“Father,” I said as we followed the same path upstairs. He didn't say anything. “Father,” I growled. We walked out the door to the car. “Alistair!”
“Enough, Reid,” he said in a perfectly calm voice. “I told you to let me do the talking. Can you not obey a single order?” He got into the car.
“Tell me Bran didn't have anything to do with vampires.” I kept pushing as I got into the passenger seat.
For a second we just sat there in silence. Father looked at the gothic mansion with a bored ice-cold expression. Then he simply started the car and drove us home, ignoring all my questions.
Frustrated and angry, I tapped my foot against the car floor. When we parked, Nikolai, Katashi, Trystan, Colwyn, and Yuri were already waiting by the stairs. We piled into Father’s office.
When the door closed, Trystan shot Yuri a hateful look. “Who invited you here?” Trystan asked.
Yuri frowned at him. “What are you talking about? I'm this pack’s future warrior,” Yuri said.
“Is that so?” Trystan raised an eyebrow. “Here I thought, you didn’t even belong to the pack anymore.”
Silence fell over the room as everyone stared at Trystan almost in disbelief. Except for Father and Katashi, they never showed any emotions. I could see Yuri struggling to defend himself somehow. We all knew though that Trystan wasn’t wrong. I put my hand on Yuri’s shoulder and faced Trystan for him.
“Maybe he is the future warrior of this pack or maybe he is the beta of a totally different pack. It doesn’t matter. Either way, his Alpha is here and he decides if he stays or goes,” I said, holding Trystan’s cold gaze. I practically felt the shock sweep through everyone, this time even Father and Katashi. A warm feeling spread through my chest though and a song of pure joy rang through my head. It belonged to Yuri. I realized I just called him my beta for the first time. Idiot, here I thought such a thing would be obvious.
I turned to Father. He held my gaze for a moment, then nodded. Either way, he wanted Yuri to stay. He cleared his throat. “Baltazar is not the one who hired the mercenaries,” he said, with absolute certainty.
I frowned. “How can you be sure about that? The whole meeting he talked nonsense!” I argued.
“Reid, I took you with me as insurance in case a fight broke out. I don’t need your opinion on his words.” I just barely managed not to flinch. Of course. What did I think? It was still Father… No matter what. And here I was so happy he trusted me enough to take me with him. He simply wanted the Cŵn Annwn inside me. He kept talking as if nothing happened, “We cannot be sure that one of his Walkers isn’t behind this, and judging by the wolf that appeared on our doorstep I am ninety percent sure it was one of the three that share Baltazar’s special ability.”
“Do you have the names of these vampires?” Nikolai asked.
Father shook his head. “I would have gotten them if someone kept their mouth shut,” he said in an annoyed tone. Nikolai and Trystan turned to glare at me.
“What did you expect?! He was trampling on Bran’s name!” I growled out, my eyes turning silver-gray. “I will not allow anyone to talk about him like that!”
“Do not talk about things you don’t understand boy!” Everyone, including me, flinched as Father’s eyes flashed with animalistic anger. Was this the first time I saw him lose control like this? Probably. He sighed and slumped into his chair, massaging his eyes. “Leave. We’ll talk tomorrow,” he simply said. He didn’t look up at us as we left.
I glared at the door. “Let’s go, Yuri. Father has obviously lost it.”
“It’s your fucking fault. It’s always your damn fault,” Trystan growled behind my back. “I wish you stayed in whatever slum you lived in this past decade.”