SOL: Generation Three – Chapter One

March began in Winter’s clutches still, Siberian weather flooding the British Isles with thunderous winds and snow so heavy it packed itself onto every available surface, a smothering blanket of flakes turning everything white for days. When the sky finally cleared from the apocalyptic yellow-tinged grey, the sun beat down on the snow with enough strength to tan skin. Still the cold persisted and it was days before it cleared, and weeks longer until the clumps in the shadows of buildings and trees bled away. The weathermen ended their frothing excitement over the beast and returned to their usual programme of apologising for the rain and forgetting that anywhere North of the border the temperature was never as balmy as they promised for the South.

After more than a week off school and work, the house was bustling again. Mornings were chaos, but it was the sort of chaos one would find in nature, and if you were to look closely you would discover delightful order, a pattern in the routines and rushing footsteps throughout the house, a sense of a dance, perfected years ago, being performed in the smallest of time frames.

Lukas was often out of the house before the others had yet to rouse. Sleepiness still clung to the rooms, the odd beep of an alarm being slapped into submission. By the time he was ready, Echo was awake, and they paused in their separate melodies to press their lips together, a wistful swapping of desires, their routines freezing the outside world for just the moment it took to weave together for the briefest of touches, and then they parted and the music sped up once more.

Echo always found herself yelling into the downstairs bedroom. Quinn’s bed, at this point, was already cold. He had sneaked out at the first alarm, cocooned himself in the warmth of a shower, and then found somewhere to curl up while he read or daydreamed. It was his brother that was hell to drag into the unforgiving cold of the day.

He would eventually slouch through for breakfast, bleary eyed and grunting, desperately waving a hand through his hair to tame the extraordinary bed head he cultivated each night. His food was often ignored in favour of bitter coffee, cupping the warm china in one hand while, on the other, he tried to rest his head and drift back into unconsciousness.

In contrast, Isabelle needed no such aid. Echo knew from experience that she would already be out of the shower by this time, the noisy whirr of the hairdryer creeping down the stairs, the quiet study of makeup following. Isabelle would float into the kitchen with a kind of grace that Echo secretly believed was reserved for vampires or for royals. She’d bless them all with a sweet smile and then reach in to tease her brother awake, pinching his cheek playfully and sticking out her tongue when he groaned for mercy.

The three of them didn’t always need words, as attuned to each other’s looks and behaviours as they were. Echo wondered sometimes if it was the bond of being triplets or if she was simply blessed with teenagers that tended to get along more often than not – although the consequence for this was that on the occasion when a storm was trapped inside the house, friction sparking off every touch, the triplets flung barbs at one another without mercy, knowing exactly how to dig thorns underneath skin.

Ayr finished his last scalding gulp after a black hole of a yawn, peeling his eyes open to watch as Echo put leftovers in boxes for her children. They were both bathed in the yellow light of the rising sun.

“Shanna?” he asked, scratching sleep away from his eyes. And this was where the dance could vary. If Echo shook her head, Ayr would drift to the study where he could doze to the comforting sounds of his brother’s breathing, the familiarity of his precise turn of a page lulling Ayr to peacefulness. Quinn’s finger would scrape the corner of a page, curl underneath, and then push it over, each movement accompanied by a whisper of paper.

If she sighed or murmured ‘please’ under her breath, Ayr would muddle his way upstairs, sleep making his focus – and therefore his dyspraxia – worse. He would catch his feet a couple of times on the lip of the step, dull metallic thuds echoing the complaints from Ayr. He’d scratch a couple of times at the door, alerting his youngest sister to his presence, and then he’d duck in to the room.

Isabelle’s and Shanna’s shared room was, to Ayr, a complete tip. It was different from his familiar pigsty; he had no idea how the girls found anything in this room. Despite the clear floors, every shelf and drawer was packed tight to the brim, the dressing table cluttered with Isabelle’s make up and textbooks. Shanna existed in a small corner. Ayr was convinced that she’d melt into the walls if she could.

Her little faced peeked out from under the covers, screwed up in annoyance when Ayr flicked the light on. He could see the bags under her eyes, the dark smudges a physical clue to her distress. With a wicked grin he would fling the covers back, cackling at her squeals, and bounce down on the bed beside her.

“C’mon monkey,” he said, tickling under her chin. She squirreled away from him but he pushed the duvet back further, giving her no reprieve, even going so far as to open the blinds next to her bed. “Up you get.”

“I don’t want to go,” she sniffed, burying into his side as the sun’s glow hit them full force.

Shanna – almost a full five years younger than the three of them – maintained that she loved all her siblings equally. Ayr not-so-secretly reckoned it was the Animal Farm sort of equality, where he was more equal than others, but Shanna firmly corrected him each time. Isabelle was her big sister, and anything girly she’d ask her about. Even though her older sister existed on another plane, as amazing and unattainable as celebrities, she would always bridge that gap for Shanna. And Quinn was there for any of her geeky needs, or for school work, or just for someone to sit in silence with.

But Ayr had replaced her teddy bear from the age of three, and Shanna treated him like a diary. She could tell him anything. And she would, too. This was how he ended up here some mornings, after her nightmares were so bad she didn’t want to get up, in perpetual fear of them becoming true.

“What was it today?” Ayr asked, drawing her close to his chest. He felt her shudder, a little wisp of a girl in his arms, and tightened his hold.

“That I was lost and all alone,” she whispered, clutching at his jumper.

“Let’s think about this,” Ayr said, as he always did, and rocked her from one side to another. “Where are you going today?”

“School,” she murmured.

“And how are you getting there?”

“The bus, with you and Iz and Quinn.”

“And how are you getting back?”

“On the bus,” she answered dutifully, wriggling out of his vice-like grip to peer up at him with mousey eyes.

“And do you know what we would do if you didn’t get on the bus at your school’s stop this afternoon?” Ayr prompted, his lips unfurling into the sort of grin one might expect was inspired by the Cheshire Cat.

“No…” Shanna said, freezing.

And then they both moved as one, Shanna leaping off the bed with a squeal as Ayr dove for her, clumsily snatching her back into his arms and pulling her up to his chest. She protested between giggles as Ayr swung her around, making the kind of noise more suited for someone’s fake Bigfoot video. Eventually Shanna squirmed enough that she fell out of his loosening grip, and she darted for her clothes and danced away from Ayr before he could grab her again.

“Would you really do that to the bus driver if I wasn’t there?” she asked, bouncing from one foot to the next. Ayr crouched down until he was eye level with her, snarling all the way, giving her his best fierce expression.

“Worse!” he growled, his hands inching towards her, fingers writhing like worms. She squeaked and hopped away from his tickling, running away from him and into the bathroom where she slammed and locked the door.

Ayr chuckled to himself and slid down the banister to return back downstairs, swinging by his room to slide his laptop into his school bag. Mornings weren’t his favourite, but some days they weren’t so bad.


 

“Let me see the drawing again, sweetheart,” Echo said, tucking wispy strands of hair behind her ears. In the warm light of the fire, roaring happily behind its grate, her son’s freckles were highlighted against his tan skin.

Quinn leaned forward to slip it off the table he was working next to and passed it up to her. She hummed and traced her finger over the outfit, imagining how to apply it to her son’s scrawny frame. There were many benefits to having Echo as a mother, and one of them that her costume design skills made her a perfect partner for creating cosplays. It was something they had bonded over for many hours over many years, a nice hobby for them both to share; an open secret. She crossed one ankle over another and made some adjustments to her own drawing.

“It certainly is an interesting weapon he has here,” Echo murmured, eyeing the coiled blade. Quinn grinned at her and bounced a little at the opportunity to share his particular facet of geekdom, introduced to him by his father who had one year discovered a hobby Echo could not share, no matter how much she tried. She loved the improvisation of story telling on the stage, in comedy, but when it involved make-believe characters that she couldn’t visualise so easily, a set piece entirely in the mind, it was one too many stretches of imagination for her. “I didn’t realise dungeons and dragons could be so, ah, flexible?”


Quinn chuckled. “This is a different roleplay game.” He appreciated her trying, though, and she smiled and reached over to run her hand over Quinn’s hair.

“Sounds lovely,” she said, pushing a thread through the eye of a needle. “You’ve talked to your uncles about staying in Glasgow for the convention?”

“I think Law’s foaming at the mouth at the chance to talk to me one-on-one about his latest biological project,” Quinn snorted, remembering hearing his Uncle’s excitement down the phone. His uncle was a mild man, but it was easy to find the emotion once you knew what to look for.

“You are the only one in this house, other than your father, who has a hope of understanding it,” Echo laughed, reaching out for the warm drink next to her before remembering that she’d finished it half an hour ago.

“Even then, it’s a bit of a stretch,” Quinn muttered. “He tries his best to explain it in layman’s terms, but I think he’s forgotten what the average high schooler knows about biology.”

“You’re hardly average, love,” Echo hummed, glancing up when she heard movement in the kitchen. It was the light steps of her husband, a leftover grace from his days as a vampire – not that the children knew that, of course. Not yet.

Lukas drifted though the arches and leaned against the side of one. “Drink?” he asked.

“Please,” Echo said, picking up her cup and holding it out with a smile. “Tea, if you would.”

“Of course,” Lukas said, playfully posh, saluting her with the empty cup. On the floor, Quinn snorted at their banter.

“Me too, please,” he said, and his father nodded, leaning over briefly to look at the prop he was painting.

“Looks good,” he said. “I hope you didn’t listen to the new episode just yet.”

“Later tonight?” Quinn asked, glancing up as he held his piece a little closer to the fire to dry.

Lukas nodded in agreement and left to make their drinks, placing them into their eager hands and kissing Echo’s forehead on his way out again. Quinn went back to his work, contented warmth in every inch of his body.


 

“Would you like to invite your girlfriend around for dinner?” Lukas asked, glancing at his daughter over his glasses. She was painting her nails fastidiously, not even glancing up as she replied.

“Carey? No, I broke up with her last weekend.” Isabelle scrunched her face up, pushing her glasses further up her nose, and continued her precise work.

“Oh,” Lukas frowned, wondering why he was always the last to know these things. Well, he supposed, as the father, the answer was obvious. “I’m sorry, mija.”

“No, it’s fine.” And Isabelle did pause then, her brush hovering above her nail. She gave her father an unreadable look, or perhaps it was only unreadable because he didn’t want to see the sadness clinging there. “She just wasn’t – it wasn’t… ugh. It’s never been like I imagined. You know?” She wrinkled her nose and spread the brush with painstaking slowness over her thumbnail. “Maybe you don’t know. I mean, you and mum had such a romantic story…” Wistfulness pooled on her words, like dew on grass.

Lukas frowned as he reached over to turn the hob down. He tended to take care of the evening meals, though Echo loved to cook more than he did, but he maintained that it was only fair since she was the one to herd the teenagers (and almost-teenager) to school in the mornings. He had only had that privilege a few times and it had been worse than herding cats.

The story wasn’t as easy as Isabelle thought it was, and with any luck it would remain that way. He didn’t share Echo’s opinion that they should know. It was the only thing they’d ever truly argued about. “Everything is romantic if you romanticise it,” Lukas said, lips curling with faint amusement. “Sometimes its fireworks and sometimes it’s just a fire. Both are true.”

Isabelle blew on her nails. “I didn’t really feel like it was right,” she said instead, apologetically. Her father was right, and she knew that she probably put so much pressure on something perfect, but growing up with the stories of her family and their relationships, of all the books she’d read where everything seemed so much better, much simpler, more exciting – well, who could blame her?

“I’m going to head out and read for a bit,” she said, standing up and shaking her nails. “I’ll be back in time for dinner.” She blew her father a kiss and he murmured a goodbye, watching as she grabbed the book never too far from her person.

Isabelle curled her scarf tighter around her, slipping into a jacket and then out of the door. There was a hint of warmth in the air, but no more than that; the sky was cloudy but for a change there was no pressure associated with rain. The brush of wind was pleasant, though Isabelle still needed the extra layer if she was going to be still for a while, as was inevitable when faced with a good book.


 

She walked down the road and hummed to herself, curling an ear bud up through her scarf to hook into place, listening to something upbeat as she walked the mile that ended just outside the town hall of their town, which they lived on the outskirts of. There was an old oak tree that was some many hundreds of years old, which Isabelle had loved to sit against and read under for years. It was her typical haunt, and where she had met Carey as the girl had passed her and then backtracked to say hi. Isabelle had thought maybe this was it, only to find later that there was no spark. But a meet-cute like that should have lead to more excitement on her part, right?

It was as she was puzzling through this that she turned the corner and crossed the road with no more than a cursory look, the road and its many crumbling pot holes as quiet as usual. She rounded the wall and stopped in surprise.

Underneath the emerging buds of the oak tree, sitting on a folded blanket, a boy sat in her space. He was clearly not from around here – and that was no statement on his dark skin, but on the fact that Isabelle had never seen him before, and their town wasn’t a tourist destination by any stretch of the imagination. It was also unlikely that there was someone she hadn’t met before, as the town barely brushed a few thousand, and Isabelle had lived here her entire life.

He should have been in school, too, but more than that: there was no way she wouldn’t have noticed him before.

High, sharp cheekbones, small and dark eyes, long fingers flicking the pages of a book Isabelle didn’t recognise. He had an alien look about him, a sort of confident air that was rare – if not impossible – to find in a teenager.

“You could,” he said, and Isabelle started at the crisp, well enunciated words, “take a picture, if you’re really that intent in gaping at me.”

Isabelle reared back at the surly tone. The boy spoke English with the kind of care that came from not being native, a flawless pronunciation that spoke of no accent whatsoever. Despite the acidity oozing from him, Isabelle was curious.

And at a loss. Her usual composure failed her. “Sorry, it’s just… you’re in my space.”

The boy’s eyes flicked up from his book and raked over her. She had no idea if he liked what he saw, but she felt inadequate anyway. He made a point of twisting to look at the tree behind him.

“My apologies,” he said sarcastically, rolling his eyes back to hers, “but there doesn’t seem to be a sign here saying that. And so I will continue reading here, in peace, if it’s all the same to you.” He clearly didn’t care if it was or not, but he returned to his book and it was like she had stopped existing.

Isabelle narrowed her eyes and stomped over. The boy didn’t look up again, but she could see him tense; his shoulders became tight, jaw bulging as his teeth grit together. She went to the side of the tree instead, the one with a worse view and less shelter, and stubbornly set her blanket up to read for an hour before she had to return.

No more words were said between them, and Isabelle found it impossible to read with the obnoxious – but magnetic – personality next to her.


And so the generation truly begins!

For those who don’t know, dyspraxia is a condition which affects balance, co-ordination, and a whole host of other things. If any of you watch Dr Who (which you should absolutely be doing because its? actually good this season? what?) one of the companions, Ryan, has it. This was what inspired me, though I also know someone IRL with it.

I’m still messing around with ReShade and my editing style, so forgive any inconsistencies within the lighting of scenes, especially with Ayr/Shanna. I was just experimenting!

Finally with tumblr going tits up, I wanted to give a shout out to some lovely people new(ish) to wordpress. My dearest AureliaMoon, Igglemouse, and PixelatedDreamz are totally worth checking out if you’re looking for new friends. I believe Igglemouse will soon be posting on blogger as her legacy doesn’t shy away from NSFW, but I definitely recommend checking these wonderful people out if you haven’t already 🙂

 

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Generation Three: Prologue


He knows that he should have retreated to bed, but as the sun continues to rise it is hard to pull himself away from the words. He reads hungrily, pausing only on occasion as a well of emotion surprises him. He is vaguely aware of his wife greeting him in the morning, taking one look at how enraptured with the story he is before deciding to leave him alone. When he is like this, there is no point trying to convince him to rest.

Footsteps approach from the stairs. He already knows who they belong to; it’s hard not to be familiar with them after all this time, even without vampire hearing.

He pushes the journal away, swallowing back pain. When his friend arrives into the room, he is greeted with a pitiful look.


“You might want to read these,” he says, nodding to the notebooks as stoically as he can. Given the circumstances, he does surprisingly well. His friend cocks an eyebrow and reaches out for one, flicking through the pages and then –

“Oh,” he says in surprise. And then again; “oh.”

“I’m sorry.”

His friend levels him with a perceptive look. “Sorry for reading them before me, or sorry for all the things you like to blame yourself for?”

He smiles humourlessly. “I am guilty for them, whether you blame me or not.”


His friend answers with a sigh, skimming the lines with a drawn expression. “I haven’t thought about them in so long. God, dad and Jasmine…” Law shuts the book and knuckles away a tear. “Immortality has its downfalls, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” he agrees quietly, steepling his fingers.

“You look like hell. Have some of my plasma OJ. Can I take these? I think Chase would like to read them, too.”

“You’re very peppy for someone who’s been given the journals of all the people he’s lost.”

Law shrugs a shoulder. “I would have grieved for my parents anyway. And as for Echo and Lukas… Of course it still hurts.” He swallows thickly, eyes misting again. “But I knew the choice I was making would mean I’d watch my family grow old. In fact, becoming a vampire was probably one of the few reasons they got to grow old. That includes you, too, longface.” He peers at the next journal waiting to be picked up and grins. “I hope you realise how much of a prick you were back then.”

“Trust me,” he says around a groan, “I do.”

“Good.” Law pauses, reaching out to clap his friend’s shoulders. “Because you really were a prat.”

He shrugs his friend off and brings the next journal to him. It holds a story very close to his heart, and he thinks – wrongly – that this will be the most painful part.

“Here we go,” he murmurs to himself, taking the letter labelled ‘3’.


One morning, many years ago, a boy threw a handful of pebbles at my beautiful window. Little did he know I was right behind him.

“Why?” I asked. “What spurred you to do this?”

He turned and peered up at me. He was a stubborn boy; I could see it in his eyes. “I wanted to break it,” he muttered.

My window is stained glass. I am proud of its beauty. “Why?” I questioned again.

Now he became petulant. “I don’t know.”

I did. Many people want to break beautiful things. They will hunt foxes and burn buildings and scar children – beauty is uncontrollable, and there are those that take joy in killing what they cannot control.

These are the people we fight, but as always, it is a matter of personal preference on how far will we go. This is what you found out here, wasn’t it? It was this decision that made me truly think you could replace me. I am only sorry that in my paranoia I continued to test you, or at least I allowed you to act without my help. I hope that you can see why I did this, just as I hope that you do not judge yourself too harshly for what, in reality, is my failing.

Yours truly,

Nameless

 


a/n: so, you now see why I chose to focus on Law instead of Echo. He’s going to be around for a long time to come!

SOL: Generation Two – Chapter Twenty Three

The final chapter!

Quick warning to say there’s some slight nsfw? Nothing much, just more flesh on display than usual, haha.

Law had decided that whatever conversation his father wanted to have with him, it wasn’t something that could be done over the phone. Kane wanted to talk, so Law thought the least his father could do was buy lunch in the cafe downstairs, the ever wonderful Eclectic which had served the flat well over their residency.

Law was first there, of course, having only to drift down from upstairs. The waitress gave him a cheerful wave as he settled into a corner seat, somewhere easy to observe and be separate from the rest of the room. He stared fixedly on the vase in front of him, the wonderful red flowers spiralling out of their pot. Echo would know what they were called, but to Law they were just pretty.

He didn’t dare look up when he heard the door open, the warm air brushing in lazily from outdoors, but he knew it was his father by the sudden weight in the air. He smoothed his sweaty palms over his trousers and eventually met Kane’s eyes, his father shifting weight from one foot to the other both impatiently and awkwardly.

Kane took the initiative and settled next to his son, rightfully assuming that Law would have just left them in that limbo for too long.

“How are you?” he asked, fidgeting on the sofa and playing with the zip on his coat, his ring still gleaming and new.

“Really good, actually,” Law said honestly. The only part of his life causing him any grief, in fact, was sitting right beside him. Kane winced as if the answer had been spitefully directed at him, so Law ploughed on – both to absolve Kane’s worries but to also bring home the fact that Law had meant what he’d said weeks before.

“Chase and I made up.” Even now he found himself smiling, warmth unfurling throughout his body the same way that a sun rose; slowly, spreading light across every piece of the sky, bit by bit, until all of a sudden it was above the horizon and no part of the sky was untouched. “And the project I was working on with Lukas – um, Luke – is coming to a close.”

“That’s good,” Kane said cautiously, folding his fingers together so as not to fiddle with anything. He nodded as the waitress looked over and she came to take their orders; Kane went only for a coffee, his stomach too unsettled for anything more, whereas Law ordered his favourite sandwich packed to the brim with super greens. It was a tradition of his to eat the sandwich before competing in one of the martial arts tournaments for the university, and it would hopefully serve him as well now as it always did in the past.


“Dad,” Law said, as calmly as he could, “did you call because you understood what I was saying to you, or because you were hoping it was some fever dream?”

“Law,” Kane groaned. “You’re always so… so ready to accuse me. I’m not perfect, alright? Fucking far from it. And I know I’ve made some really stupid decisions in the past, but they were always –“ He cut himself off when Law gave him a particularly unforgiving glare, and Kane decided it was best not to reopen that wound. “You told me not to call you until I understood, so I tried to take you at your word.”

“And you understand now?” Law asked doubtfully.

Kane paused while the waitress brought their drinks out. To stall, he took a sip of the coffee, eyes watering at the heat. “Law, I will never understand you,” Kane said, laughing a little. “You’re far too brilliant for me to ever wrap my small brain around. You always have been.”

Law glanced sideways at his father and was relieved to see Kane’s expression was nothing but fond. He played with the string of his teabag idly. “Go on,” he prompted, when silence settled between them for too long.

“I love you, Law,” Kane said, around the sudden lump in his throat. “I mean it when I say you’re the best thing I’ll ever do in my entire life. Honestly if I didn’t know better I wouldn’t even think you were mine,” he sighed. “I thought the best thing I would ever amount to was working in the Hive as a dogsbody until I died. And that was me being optimistic, considering the kind of family I’d come from.”

Law glanced over in interest; it was one of the few times Kane had alluded to his family at home. Though Law – through Echo’s knowledge and James’ insight – knew now that they were criminals, he had never heard it from Kane. Maybe it was too difficult for his father to admit.

“And then… then Faye came back into my life and… I’m sure you know now that we used to be friends. A long time ago, before she became… who she is now. And part of me was desperate to see her as she was, I guess, so I thought that this was it. The first person who had ever really been kind to me… And the first person who broke my heart when she ignored me as a teen, was here to do right by me. I have no idea why she was interested in me again – maybe she was just lonely – but when she left me with you… Law, I was terrified, but I’ve never loved anyone so much in my life. So you’re gay. I won’t say that I totally understand it even now ‘cause… I mean, I’ve never, y’know, thought like that myself.” He offered his son a rueful smile. “I’ve fucked up before. I know I have. But I’m not going to mess up this one. I just want you to be happy, Law. I’m sorry that you couldn’t tell me earlier.” He was silent for moment; contemplative. “I understand why. Jasmine didn’t hold anything back when I told her.”

Law listened to this while staring at those flowers. The vase holding them looked like someone had mixed together different colours of playdough and then baked it like that. As with most contemporary art, it could easily have been a masterpiece or a child’s attempt at a mother’s day gift.

Just as Jasmine had given Kane advice – perhaps harsh advice, from the sounds of it – Echo had lent her powers of insight to Law, telling him all the things he didn’t want to hear, but were true nonetheless.

He knew that he could be harsh on his father. Why, he wasn’t entirely sure – perhaps Kane had so much more to live up to because it was just him, or because Law couldn’t see his childhood as anything other than sunny and wanted to return to those blessedly innocent days. It was when he became a teenager that his father suddenly hadn’t been good enough, had blundered at every turn. And while sometimes Law was right to be angry, equally he was too quick to expect his father to make the right choice with half the information.

“I miss you,” his father said, breaking the fragile silence between them. Law thought he heard Kane’s voice splinter in the middle, but he didn’t quite trust his ears.

“I miss you too,” Law murmured, accepting the sandwich that the waitress put in front of him with a thankful smile. He chanced a glance over to his father. “Thank you. I was so ready to hear… the opposite.”

At this, Kane frowned. “Law, if you ever have kids one day yourself, I think you’ll know how impossible that is. And I hope you realise how hard it is to get right, too,” he said, nudging his son with his elbow. Law laughed as he tucked into his food.


For the first time in a long, long time, Kane threw his arms around Law and pulled his son tight to him as they said goodbye. “Jas and I can get to Glasgow at some point soon, if you wanted us to.”

“For?” Law asked, raising his eyebrow. “Just a regular get together?”

Kane gave a rather smug smile. “If you want it to be. Or you can bring a plus one, this time.” He squeezed Law one last time before pulling away from him, laughing at Law’s groan.

“We’ve got to meet him at some point. Four years!” Kane exclaimed, shaking his head. “Remind me that if I ever need someone to keep a secret, you’re the best bet.”

Law snorted. “Alright, I’ll see what I can do.”



Lukas had found a fish and chips shop for the two of them to discover the weekend after their dancing, and then Echo had responded by dragging him to watch a play featuring a twist on Dracula, written by Liz Lochhead and acted out with the most interesting set pieces. Echo couldn’t help but give Lukas sidelong glances each time the vampire was mentioned, and he met her eyes with an exasperated but ultimately humouring look.

And so their summer continued like this. It was Echo’s idea to take Lukas to what passed as the seaside around Glasgow, which was to say it was the South Queensferry shoreline along the Forth estuary and not all that close to their city anyway. She liked the little village, but she liked the walk along the rocky coast more, especially when the sand was finally revealed if the tide was out; a jealously guarded secret of the waters.

Lukas had stepped onto the sand without a second thought for his dress shoes. Echo couldn’t help but wince and apologise, though he’d taken it in his usual gentle humour.

“I am perpetually overdressed,” he said apologetically. “It’s a curse of my generation, I think.”


“I did warn you that we’d be walking,” Echo said, biting back a smile.

“I’m afraid I don’t own anything that could pass as casual,” he replied, tilting his head back to bask in the weak sun.

“Well, next time I shall endeavour to find something less, ah, sandy.” Echo looked at his shoes as she said it, wincing at the thought of sand crawling into the crevices of them. At least her sandals were built for this job. “There’s an interesting art exhibition opening near my theatre. Eilidh has put a piece in; it’s about differing cultural or social identities.”

“That does sound fascinating,” Lukas agreed, studying Echo. “You didn’t put a piece in?”

“I was so busy, and I feel like I don’t have much to say on that topic. Eilidh’s mother is very upper-middle class, but she’s not, at all. I have another friend who has put something in about being born in Poland but being raised entirely in the United Kingdom. She showed me the other week; it’s very thought provoking.”


“I can imagine,” Lukas said, watching as seagulls fought over something closer to the waves. Under their feet, shells crunched, and with each breath the smell of old seaweed and fresh salty air hit her. “I felt torn by cultures when I was young, I think.”

“Really?” Echo asked, glancing over to him.

“As I’m sure you know, my last name is Italian, but this comes from my paternal Grandfather, who moved to Spain to marry a fairly wealthy woman. Her family allowed her to take his last name so long as their first – and, as it turned out, only – son was named after her father. Hence my father’s name, Juan, who rejected much of his Italian ancestry. Thus I was born with an Italian last name but with no attachment to the country. It was an interesting predicament in those times. Spain was still recovering from the aftermath of its civil war and then, of course, the second world war – Spain had a debt to Germany, and Franco was sympathetic towards the AXIS powers, though still far too afraid of the United Kingdom to ever enter into the war proper. But I felt I received a bizarre treatment from others my age, idolising me, almost. I’m still not sure why I return to Savio. I think I’d like to change it one day.” Lukas blinked away from his reverie and caught Echo watching him. “I’m sorry,” he blushed. “You don’t have to be so polite if I’m boring you.”


“Nonsense!” Echo said cheerfully. “I know absolutely nothing about Spain, if I’m honest, and it’s always nice to learn. When did you come here?”

“I travelled for some time around Asia, working as a doctor, and it was there I learned that Britain was doing exceptionally well in the sciences. I began to follow the discoveries in biology when the Nobel Prize was awarded for the structure of DNA. I moved to the country shortly after to go to university, and the rest is history.”

“You’ve lived here for some time, then?”

“Yes, with some travelling between. After your Uncle almost discovered my secret, I went to Central America for some years. I’m not sure why I’ve returned here. The old adage about the devil you know comes to mind…”

Echo laughed. “I can’t imagine Scotland being all that interesting after you’ve visited so many other places.”

“On the contrary,” Lukas said with an easy smile, “it’s very peaceful. And that, I enjoy.”


“But it’s hardly as warm as what you’re used to,” Echo said, stepping across Lukas’ path to make her way to the water. She didn’t expect it to be warm and she wasn’t disappointed; her feet were instantly chilled and she suppressed a high-pitched squeal, instead gasping out a couple of curse words under her breath.

Lukas laughed in surprise. “Very true. If it’s so cold, why do you dare to stand in the water?”

Echo settled her feet on a sturdier piece of ground, using a rock which wasn’t as covered in seaweed and therefore far less slippery than its neighbours. “It makes you feel alive,” she said, squeaking as a small wave lapped at the bottom of her jumpsuit. “And I’m sure it’s meant to be good for your health.”

A gull launched itself up into the air, crying noisily, as a speedboat carved its way through the water behind them. Displaced water lapped at the back of Echo’s legs. “Only if you don’t catch a chill, I’d wager.”

“You wanted to be taught how to be human,” she pointed out.


“And being human is about doing ridiculously silly things,” Lukas agreed sagely. “Regardless you’ll have to forgive me for choosing to stay on the land.”

Echo stuck her tongue out at him and kicked at the water a few times, watching the ripples as they were swallowed by the wavelets approaching land. “Maybe we should go rock pooling instead.”

“A common childhood past time, I’ve heard.”

“The best thing you usually get are anemones,” Echo shrugged, hopping out of the water and shaking her feet to dry. The wind felt far too cold on her damp skin, and she shivered as her toes turned to blocks of ice.

“But anemones are incredibly interesting,” Lukas said, lacing his hands behind his back as they continue on strolling. “They’re a Cnidarian, closely related to the jellyfish and the coral, and which means Nettle in English.” He waited patiently for Echo to catch up to him. “And they’re squishy,” he said, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

Echo burst out laughing at the usually serious scientist. “Yes,” she agreed. “They’re very squishy.”

“I was thinking-“

“Steady,” Echo cautioned, winking at him.

Lukas snorted. “That perhaps next week you would willing to go to a café I’ve seen on my daily commute.”

“Of course,” Echo said. And then, after a pause, and trying not to laugh, she asked, “No fish and chips this time, I take it?”

“No.” Lukas waited a moment, almost until the conversation would have reached its end, before adding, “It’s a waffle and milkshake café, and it looks delightful. You might have to roll me out once we’ve finished.”

Echo clapped her hands together and laughed brilliantly. “I look forward to it.”


 


The morning started like many others, these days; Law and Chase lying on top of his duvet, cuddling up to each other sleepily, both trying to prod the other up but neither wanting to move. Their second honeymoon period had yet to end, and Law was utterly content to spend his mornings this way.

“Are you nervous?” Chase asked around a yawn, pressing his lips to Law’s collarbone, his hand tickling the skin at his waist.

“Absolutely,” Law murmured, reaching over to pull Chase’s head back to him so that he could kiss him. Chase complied with little resistance.

“More nervous than the other week with your karate thingy?”

“It’s MMA,” Law corrected with a laugh. “And no, I’m never nervous for that. I know I’m good, but it doesn’t matter to me if I win. It matters to me that dad and Jas like you.”

“What if I don’t like them?” Chase asked teasingly, spreading his hand along Law’s toned stomach.

“Less important,” Law said with a wicked grin. “I can’t get rid of them.”

Chase responded by tickling Law’s sides, his Achilles heel. Law hated the indignant squeal that he answered with, but he was unable to stop it under Chase’s relentless teasing.


Law ended up sitting up, ready to leave in search of clothes for the day. Chase groaned in complaint and ended up leaning against him, his tanned skin still dark from his American escapades, while Law was as pale as ever.

“We need to get you sunbathing,” Chase commented, leaning his head back so he could see Law’s face.

“I have too many things to do.” Law stuck his tongue out at Chase, who laughed gently. “It’s a waste of time.”

“Not with a good book,” he protested. “Or some pretty company.” He fluttered his eyelashes at Law, who laughed and shook Chase off.

“I guess I’ll have to ask Rhoan to accompany me, then,” Law grinned.

Chase gaped in mock hurt. “You’ve wounded me, Law. Rhoan, prettier than me? Don’t let him hear that or Eilidh will never get him to stop strutting like a peacock.”

“She can’t stop him as it is,” Law agreed, tossing Chase’s trousers over to him.



Law thought Jas would be able to feel the rapid beating of his heart through her chest as, behind him, Chase shook hands with his father. Kane was jovial, slapping Chase on the back and promising to buy him a drink. The pub that he’d chosen was one he knew via a co-worker who’d left The Hive some years ago. It was for that reason the owner had opened the door to them slightly early with a wink, giving them some space to themselves before the night’s trade came in.

Chase met the firm handshake with a smile. He’d never seen Kane closely enough to get a good look at his face, but there was enough of Law in him that it was recognisable. And searching his eyes, Chase was reassured to see that there was no look of disgust or displeasure; only friendliness.

“Come here, Chase, don’t let Kane steal all your time,” Jasmine commanded, waving her hands to beckon Chase in for a hug. Laughing, Chase lent in and let Jasmine peck his cheek, quickly wiping away any lipstick stain before rearing back to look at him. “I hope you can forgive us for being a little excited,” she grinned, and Kane snorted.

“She’s always over-excited, don’t let her fool you.”

“It’s nice to be so warmly received,” Chase said diplomatically, winking at Law who hovered in the background. “Shall we get a drink?”

“Yes please,” Law muttered under his breath, making a beeline for the bar. Chase’s laughter followed him.

Law struck up a conversation with the barman, a man called Des (or, more accurately, who called himself that) and ordered a cider for himself while Chase drooped over the bar.

“It’s been a long week,” he said, continuing a conversation with Kane and Jasmine that Law hadn’t heard the start of. “University starts up soon, so I’ve been trying to remember everything we’ve already learned. It’s a lot,” he grumbled.

Kane stretched lazily and signalled to the bartender for a real ale. “What is it you study?”

“Physics, basically. I’m starting a PhD next year about quantum physics in cyber security.”

“Putting your hacking skills to good use,” Law said, smirking into his bottle. Chase grinned like a cat.

“You’ve made me into a law-abiding citizen,” he quipped, making Law groan at the poor pun.

At the end of the table, Jasmine laughed and sipped her own beer, reaching out to curl her fingers around Kane’s thigh.

“Sounds like the two of you are as smart as each other,” Kane said, shaking his head in amazement. To that, Chase snorted.

“As if. Genius over here is on a whole other level.”

Law wrinkled his nose in protest. “Says the person doing quantum physics.”

The bartender glanced over to them with a smile in his eyes, crinkling their corners, and turned away to take stock of some of the spirits waiting in the shelves. Kane chuckled at their banter.

“Sounds like an old argument.”

“Yup,” Chase said, popping the ‘p’, and giving Law one of his infuriating smirks. “I can’t help but notice there’s a foosball table over there,” he said, eyeing it up over his shoulder. Law huffed a laugh.

“Better than a karaoke machine,” he muttered. Chase gave him the finger as he hopped over to it.

“Two against two?” he asked.


As they played the foosball in the empty pub, their raucous laughter filling the building with life, Law met Chase’s eyes. His boyriend smiled sweetly at him, giving him a confident wink, and Law felt himself blossom with happiness.

Law couldn’t think of a time when he had been more content as this. Finally he felt like he was a step closer to understanding his father, and vice versa. Chase was back in his life and there was no way Law would let him leave so easily again, if Chase would even dream of doing so. His father and Jasmine were just as satisfied with life, facing it together as they had been for more than a decade already, but this time with rings on their fingers. And Law was surrounded by his closest friends, his own family. Maybe the next few years would see them drift to new parts of the world, start families, change jobs, or generally be a nuisance to the public (Rhoan), but Law didn’t doubt that the bonds they’d formed years ago would stay in place. He couldn’t imagine a world where Rhoan and Eilidh didn’t get married and bless the world with children that were far too cute and deadly smart, or a world where he and Chase weren’t changing the world in their own ways.

He looked forward to each day of it.



The summer had passed by quickly for them all, in different ways. Law and Chase treasured each moment together, and both Rhoan and Eilidh were busy with family holidays and various hobbies squeezed between. Echo, for her part, had either been at the theatre or enjoying Lukas’ company. Their friendship had a strange dream-like quality about it; the feeling of a summer fling coming to an end.

Which was odd, Echo reflected, given that there had been no mention of the feelings simmering between them. Lukas was ever the gentleman, but it had been intoxicating to see him light up whenever they had found an activity which they had both enjoyed. They’d returned to dancing many weeks, but in between had also been bowling, watched several plays, and discovered niche art exhibitions, restaurants, and all manner of interesting places hidden among the streets of Glasgow.

Echo had decided to take Lukas to the Indian restaurant she had first discovered with her granddad. It matched a wonderfully warm interior with exquisite food, filled with blends of spices and alive with flavour. Lukas had even cooked for Echo, once, though they hadn’t eaten at his. Echo wasn’t sure if it was because Lukas didn’t want that sort of intimacy or if he hadn’t thought it proper. The food was delicious; a mixture of dishes from mainly Spanish origin, but with a couple of interesting Italian sides that Echo had enjoyed equally as much.


“What does the end of summer bring you?” Lukas asked, absently realigning his cutlery. The flickering light from the candle cast them both in a warm glow, one that perfectly matched the dim lights dotted around the building.

Echo bit back the words ‘not you, I expect’, and instead smiled at Lukas, though it was a smile tinged with sadness. “More art and theatre modules, of course. I have taken a sculpting class out of interest, though my real passion lies in oil paintings and costume making. Unfortunately costume making and design isn’t so well paid,” she acknowledged.

“It’s more important to do what you love,” Lukas shrugged.

“And you?” Echo asked, turning the question back around as she fiddled with her bracelet.

Lukas considered his answer while watching her through the candle’s light. “I’ll have to think of a new project to spend my time on,” he said wryly. “Though honestly there’s no shortage of things to do in a University. I could drown in papers to mark if I’m not careful.”

“That would be a great loss indeed,” Echo said, injected her tone with mock seriousness. Lukas’ eyes flicked to hers and he rewarded her with one of his rare, true smiles.

“I find you quite the mystery, you know,” Lukas said, tilting his head to the side. Echo felt suddenly flustered under his piercing eyes and ran a hand down her plaits self-consciously.

“A mystery?” she repeated, somewhat incredulously. “You scientists always try to make things more complicated than they have to be.”

He didn’t miss the fondness in her words. It was, somehow, hard not to in a place as intimate as this. “I’ve never met anyone like you,” he confessed. “Though my taste in company did leave a lot to be desired for, for many years…”

Echo shook her head at him. Even with the dark undertones of his past, she couldn’t help but be amused. “Just because I’m different doesn’t make me a mystery. Far from it; I think I’m simple to work out.”


Lukas ran his hand over his beard, an absent gesture. The food was taking a while, but Echo had already warned him of this, and besides, it gave them seemingly endless time. Lukas was aware that tomorrow a new term would begin, and their spell would end. There was no harm in taking their time while they could afford to.

“How so?”

“Because,” Echo said, fixing him with a look underneath her lashes in her typical way, “Many people I think are duplicitous without realising. They say one thing and act in another way. They lie thinking they tell the truth. I think that’s just how people are. My mum definitely is. But my dad… He’s like me. Or I’m like him, I should say. And he is very much a man who does as he says. He knows himself. He doesn’t try to achieve greatness in anything but happiness, and I aspire to be like that every day.”

“I think you succeed, if this summer is anything to go by.”

Echo blessed him with a knowing smile. “True. He lent me a book when I was young. Maybe you’ve heard of it – The Prophet?” When Lukas shook his head, she continued on. “It’s a very wise book. Generally I try to follow its advice; things like ‘in your talking, half your thinking is murdered.’” She gave a sheepish laugh. “And yet here I am wittering on, so maybe not. But I could lend it to you if you like?”

The moment almost shattered with the reference to spending time together after summer, to something both of them knew; after tonight, they would be back in reality. They both felt that approaching awareness of someone waking up.


Lukas reached out and without a word Echo placed her hand in his. They had touched before, many times, as it was hard to dance without doing so – but this was different. This was intimate; a touch cherished.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed our time together, Echo.” Lukas spoke softly. Anything of volume would have broken their private bubble, secluding them from the other couples in the restaurant.

“It’s been lovely,” she agreed, challenging him with her smile. It said, tell me it’s over, at the same time as her eyes searched his, looking for him to say it’s not.

“I don’t think I could have experienced half the things you showed me without you.” He smoothed his thumb over the backs of her fingers and watched as he did so, a mixture of want and wonder in his expression. “But this is hardly appropriate,” he added quietly.

“Appropriate?” Echo couldn’t help raising her voice, though it was because she was startled rather than indignant. Of all the reasons she had thought their whirlwind friendship was coming to an end, this wasn’t even on the list.

“We’ll talk about it after dinner?” Lukas suggested as the waiter came with their food. Echo nodded distantly, an empty smile for their server as he gave them their dishes.



And so an hour later they stood in the gentle glow of the fountain. The days had been growing shorter for some time, and now, in early September, it was dark at nine. Accompanying this was the Indian Summer that Scotland so often had this time of year, though in reality it was little more than a continuation of decent weather and a lowering of the inhabitant’s expectation of what a Summer should be. Many of the leaves were still green, yet to turn, but some which basked in the sun all day had recognised its dwindling light had begun to burn yellow, smoldering its way to the rest of the greenery.

The park they crossed through on their way to the metro was lit by dim streetlights and the fountain itself, which cast light up to the sky from its circular dome. The water turned the light blue in the dark, and so they stood bathed in its aquamarine radiance. Lukas encircled her hands with his own, pulling them between their chests. Echo watched him as her heart thundered in her ears.

“You know the truth of who I was,” Lukas murmured to her, his voice light enough to be carried by the wind. “I’ve enjoyed our time; I really have. But it’s hardly appropriate for someone who is, in reality, three times your age, and far too undeserving of someone like you.”


Echo wondered if she would forever associate the splashing, bubbling water with the feeling of heartbreak.

“Let me decide what I do and don’t deserve, Lukas,” she told him, though her disapproval was lost somewhere in her throat, where it was replaced instead with an ache.

“The fact remains that I am so much older than you. I’ve known your brother since he was barely a teenager, Echo. I may physically be eighteen, but we both know that I’m not.”

Echo swallowed. He was right, of course, but that didn’t mean she had to agree.


As if reading her thoughts on her face he brought her hands up, pressing his lips to her chilled hands. She swallowed the entwined feelings of desire and disappointment back.

“Tell me why that matters?” she asked, searching his gaze.

“I couldn’t bear to think I’m taking advantage of you, or that you’re settling for a man stuck in the past as I am. As I said, you deserve someone truly your age. Anyone would struggle not to love you, Echo.”

She clicked her tongue at him, trying to inject some joviality into her words. “You silly man,” she sighed. “The very fact you’re worried about it proves that you will never do so, and you clearly think I can’t or won’t toss you out on the kerb if you were to ever try to do that. Lukas, I’ve been happier with you than I have been with anyone else. This summer ends, but what we have doesn’t have to.” She tilted her head to the side, studying him, and the illuminated fountain soothed them with blue waves. “Like I said, leave it up to me to decide what I deserve. I know my value, thank you very much. And I happened to have made my mind up a long time ago about what and who I wanted.” She dropped her hands to the side. “It’s only you I’ve been waiting for.”

The weighted silence between them only grew. Echo wished she could know Lukas’ thoughts, but all she could do was wait as he mulled over her words in that brooding way of his. She had stated her case; she had said what she wanted. They could leave here together, continuing their tentative courtship, or they could leave as nothing more than acquaintances and painful memories.

Lukas often looked back on this moment. He could easily identify the choices he’d made which had put his life onto certain paths; leaving his family to be a research assistant for a week had been the first, and agreeing to help the vampire council had had the most impact. And whenever he thought about this moment, he knew there had really ever only been one decision to make. He was drawn to Echo helplessly, as he was with all mysteries, and she had given him the rationale he needed to excuse seeing her again – and not just seeing her as a friend, but as a partner.


And he had taken her hands in his again, ever so gently, so that he could walk her to the metro station, and her eyes had shone with relief, and his steps were lighter than ever.

He wished someone could have taken a photograph of the two of them leaving the park together, Lukas reaching up to smooth Echo’s hair under his hand as he had dreamed of doing for many weeks, the fountain’s light dying on their backs. He would have liked to have that picture, because of what it represented to him; the true start of a new life, the cementing of their growing love for one another, and more than anything, the fact that they had chosen each other to face the world with.

Echo had been right in some ways when she had said she was simple. She was straightforward with what she wanted; him, and later a wedding, and then somewhere to raise a family. She was also complicated in ways Lukas could never explain to her, because he could hardly explain why he found it so confusing. It was in the ways she would get lost in her own world of creativity and forget to take breaks for food, or how she could take him into her world of simple pleasures with just a smile and a piece of music. It was in the skill of her fingers to produce love in so many forms, whether it was through costumes, melodies, paintings, or cooking. It was her open and trusting nature, despite how evil the world could be around them. She loved like no one he had ever known, and he would never understand it, but he would spend his life trying.

And there was no better life than the one with her by his side, being welcomed into her family with open arms, Law harbouring none of the suspicion Lukas had convinced himself he would. There was no better life than the one where he could have a family of his own, naming his children in memory of his mother and brothers, raising them alongside the most patient and compassionate wife he could have ever hoped for.

There was no better life than the one he got to live.


A/N: I made the choice not to have this generation continue any longer than strictly necessary, which is why Lukas and Echo have so few scenes – as you can see, Law’s storylines are now neatly tied up so to squeeze another chapter into what is technically his story feels a bit odd. I hope I got away with that on the basis that Lukas has been a character for a while, and that the writing hopefully makes up for the fact that we don’t see their time pass. And if you didn’t already guess, we’re having quite the time skip because Generation Three has a lot of plot to get through, and so I want to get right in it.

I totally understand if this has been too rushed and you’re not on board for Lukas and Echo. If that’s the case, I will happily backtrack my plans and have the first chapter be a sort of montage of scenes as they forge their life together. But I just really, really like this ending, and no matter how many times I’ve come back to change it, I never have.

But first, look out for the prologue. I’m excited to have you all read it!

SOL: Generation Two – Chapter Twenty Two


Helplessly, Law had drifted closer to Chase. He hadn’t even noticed himself doing it, but that was no surprise. Chase had always drawn him in, like a moth to flame. In this instance, Law felt like he was the moth banging his head on the light, never learning its lesson.

He pressed his hand to his chest as if the phantom pain could be felt as a real wound. “I thought…” he trailed off, unable to speak around the ache of unshed tears and want in his throat.

Chase shuffled his feet. “That I was in America? I came back for the Summer early.” He scratched the back of his neck, ran his hand through hair that Law had always thought was an undeniably sexy haircut. “I, um, actually signed up for a semester abroad and was allowed to pick Glasgow. I was going to tell you, before…” He bit his lip.

“Before you dumped me?” Law supplied, unable to keep the acidity from his tone.

Again, Chase flinched. “Can we go upstairs to talk?”

Continue reading SOL: Generation Two – Chapter Twenty Two

SOL: Generation Two – Chapter Twenty One

Echo unloaded every word that she’d heard Lukas and Law say, and then every thought and worry she’d had following that moment. In a panic she had greeted Law as if she hadn’t heard a thing, and the dishonesty sat uncomfortably within her, like a too-full stomach. Naturally, she went to the one person in the world that she had no secrets with; her father.

Continue reading SOL: Generation Two – Chapter Twenty One

SOL: Generation Two – Interlude: Lukas

A/N: Before we get started, I just want to let those who aren’t on tumblr know I haven’t had internet for a while, and then I had a bunch of adult stuff to do when moving back home (joy). Unfortunately this meant I didn’t upload my audio part to this in time, and since this internet struggles to even load pictures on this site… well, sadly that’s not happening. But I’ve written it out more or less verbatim, which means it’s in present tense for impact. Okay, here we go!


 

 

“Tell me everything,” Law had said.
And so Lukas did.

 

Luaks’ face is distant and his eyes are low; there’s something hesitant about him but when he speaks it is with conviction. 

I was young when my father left us. Too young to really know him, but with the pieces I found out later I learned he had left because he was a gambler, and he and his partner had got into debt with some very bad people. And so he left, and he left us behind to deal with his mess.

Then, when I was eleven, my older brother left. He wasn’t our father – he agreed to go with them, to work off the debt. But I could tell they weren’t regular criminals even then. They were something more. Something other. Something entirely more dangerous.

We never heard from him again. I’m sure he died soon after. I have this… this feeling that I’m the only one left.

Our family continued as best we could. We were poor. Everyone was poor after the war, but we were threadbare. Still, I was a gifted student. There was a scientist nearby who needed a research assistant and I agreed to go on a week long trip with him, hoping it was the start of some income flowing in.

I had no idea what would happen next. No idea.

When I returned, my family was dead; my mother and my twin brother. I won’t – I can’t –

And Lukas breaks off. He turns away, and though Law can’t see it, he’s fighting back tears. Talking about family is never easy, even with many many years to dull the blade of grief. He takes a moment to compose himself, and then he speaks again.

They were dead. That’s when it really started, for me.

A woman found me inside sobbing. I only remember her cursing and saying she was too late over and over and over, lamenting about the fact that they couldn’t stop them in time. She said she was sorry so many times that the word lost meaning, but she gave me comfort. She promised to help me. That was all that mattered right then.

It was an act, Law. It was all an act. I didn’t know it then but, well, I didn’t know anything then. 

She took me to a compound. I was too broken by grief to take account of the path. I awoke in a room of white light and she was there, waiting. She told me about vampires, about how she and the group that had taken me in were vampires too, and how there were vampires out there who wanted nothing more than to destroy, like how they had destroyed my family. She promised me that she would find out who did it, that she would convince the group to find them. But nothing was free, and so I worked for them.

I had nothing else. I had no family. What else was there to do? They said that they wanted to stop these vampires from attacking people, and I wanted to stop it from happening to me, but I couldn’t, so I did the next best thing. I gave them the strength they needed to stop it from happening to the next unfortunate soul. I gave them my talent, and I gave them my trust.

Lukas takes a deep breath and steels himself. What he’s about to talk about is hard in a completely different way than talking about family. There’s shame involved here, and there’s guilt, too.

They call themselves the council. Twelve seats lead them, filled with vampires from old families. Most vampires can’t reproduce – or at the time they didn’t understand the mechanisms of the virus well enough to be able to reproduce – so they would turn candidates and welcome them into the families. This woman, Menna, was one of them. She was due to take her father’s seat within the decade. She was everything they valued; conniving and manipulative and ambitious, and every so often she would bring me projects. They were never anything I was quite comfortable with… they would push my comfort zone out a little each time. And I let them, Law, God forgive me but I let them.

Each time I looked back she told me about another lead they had found about the vampires that had killed my family. She would taunt me with it, bait me with it, and so I would stay for longer and I would work for them on these awful projects.

And then, a year after I was turned at eighteen I looked back and opened my eyes properly for the first time since waking up in the compound. The promise of knowing my family’s killer wasn’t enough to stop me then. I wanted the truth but until then I was too scared to accept the truth of my own situation. It became obvious I was working for the people that had killed me family, the same people that my father had owed a debt to.

I knew this because when I truly looked at the situation I was horrified to see what I had done… what I had been doing for years. I was experimenting on a child, Law. A child. I don’t deserve… anything really, forgiveness least of all… but here I am with the audacity to beg you for freedom.

I couldn’t do much. My situation was perfectly calculated to give me the least amount of freedom possible. I knew it was stupid, but I had to get out that night rather than plan my escape. I couldn’t stay a moment later. Looking back, I’m sure that impatience had saved my life.

The boy I let escape. It was the most I could do for him; he wouldn’t want to run with me after what I’d done to him. He had to find the way out himself and I had to hope that the strange powers I’d infused him with was enough. I don’t know if it worked. I probably will never know.

And then I destroyed as much of my research as I could. I had given them secrets to creating half breeds and new kinds of supernaturals… This potential for an abused army to bring their unquestioned dominance over the supernatural world. I burned as much as I could and then I ran. I tried later to destroy myself too, but somehow I lived. During the day I lost my nerve to try again.

So I hid. Eventually I came across a new solution. The council do not apply their debts to humans, Law, not in the same way that they do to vampires. They can do all in their power to manipulate them into accepting the bite, but their laws state they cannot turn the humans without consent. Over the years they’ve twisted this as much as they could, almost as if it’s a game to them, but they do obey it.

When I realised that, I began contemplating finding a way to become a human again.

There’s so much out there, so much magic, that there must be a way whether that’s through science or something else. If I could just make this work, I would be another human again. I would get lost within the billions of others and I would know never to let myself be Turned… and I would be safe.

Really, that’s what I’m asking you for. I’m so tired of running, Law. I’m so tired.

And now Lukas breaks away from Law’s intense gaze to stare out of the window, rain misting out of the glass. And Law can see the exhaustion, evident in the way Lukas’ shoulders are always slumped, and in the way that sadness sticks to him like a second skin. Everything has become clear in retrospect and it isn’t just the signs of his otherworldly nature. It’s the fear, too.

Law and Lukas’ relationship has always been professional, but there’s been a wall between them that has been more than that. Law realises that it was this, it was the weight of the threat and loneliness hanging over Lukas.

And maybe Law agrees because he sees himself in that loneliness, and even though some of his family is just absent, not – gone, he’s experienced an echo of the loss within Lukas and it’s hard enough to bear as it is. Maybe it’s because Law cares for Lukas more than he thought he did. After years of working with him, it’s hard not to have something more than admiration for the man.

Or maybe it’s just that Law wants to be the one to solve the mystery. He wants to be the one to untangle the threads of myth and truth.

And so it’s with the foolishness of a boy still a teenager that he says, “I’ll help you.”


 

Echo had come into the break room to wait for Law to finish; she had recently passed her driving test and was trying to practice by driving her flatmates to and from places they needed to go if it was on her way too. Law’s lab was only a slight detour from her theatre, but since she had finished the day earlier than expected she had texted him to expect her.

The window was open and a breeze lifted her skirt ever so slightly. With the breeze came words, and she hadn’t listened until she heard her brother’s voice.

Law had shared all the details of the virus with Echo, but even so she couldn’t follow the jumps in Law’s mind. She hadn’t found the water bottle or seen Lukas display extraordinary strength, but at the mention of her uncle’s name she remembered Loxley telling her the story of the scientist who had first inspired him.

Echo trusted her brother and his brain. So when he leapt to that conclusion, she assumed he was right, and when Lukas said he was in danger, she trusted the genuine terror in his voice.

And when Law promised him a cure before the summer, Echo wondered if the vampires were someone they needed to be scared of too.

 


I hope the present tense wasn’t too jarring there. As I said, I copied it down as close to the audio component as I could, including the pauses and whatnot, so if it reads funny, hopefully it’s just that. I lowkey hate that it’s present tense as this is not to be confused with the prologues which actually take place in the present of the story, but changing it just isn’t working and I don’t want to spend another week sitting on this, soooo…

Before I go, I’ll just let you know that I have written the rest of the generation. They’re going to be posting once a fortnight starting this Sunday, I think, to get me back on track. Depending on how much work I get done on the Quest and my story over on tumblr, there will either be a break or I’ll just jump right into generation three.

Hopefully you’ll see me in the comments soon! ❤