Vin walked us into the middle of a room I’d never been in. The whole room was shadowed in darkness. Hunter grinned brightly in the black light, “It’s protected from outsiders too. Not everyone can just walk in.”
“That’s good to know.” I said, “Alex thinks of everything.”
Hunter giggled, “Da, said no fucking way am I letting vampires get a free pass into my house.”
Hunter frowned, “Sorry, I was quoting Da.”
“I know you were.”
He looked up at me with a smile. “You mad?”
I shook my head, “No. But you are going to have to run interference with your Da. I’m not ready to have him forget me.”
Hunter nodded, but Vin intervened, “I’ll make sure he’s out. But he’s at Happy Trails training a new night manager so they can have two decent folks running the bar when they need it.”
“I didn’t think you worked for them?”
Vin smiled, “I don’t work for them. But I still have an apartment downstairs. I’m your kids bodyguard.”
“So how is he getting away from you?”
“I sleep during the day, I make sure he is good at night.”
“He usually sits by my bed and reads a book.”
“Anything good?” I asked Vin.
“You should try the Immortal Instruments.”
Hunter giggled as he took my hand, “He’s read it three times. Come on, I’ll take you to see your room and then we can get the bracelet from my room.”
“I shouldn’t babe. I don’t think I could handle it.”
He pulled my hand alone the hall and into his room. “This is my room. It’s all mine.”
“Do you like sleeping alone?” I asked.
He shook his head, “No. But that’s why Vin sleeps with me.”
Hunter flipped on the light and the blue paint was covered in paintings. I stopped and ran my fingers over the paint my son had applied to the walls. I recognized some of them, and others I didn’t. Dreams he liked – toys he’d had as a kid – his mother. He tugged on my hand and I walked with him towards the dresser. He didn’t want to forget me either. Vin stayed closer than he usually did too.
Hunter opened his drawer and picked up the front row of socks and set them aside before moving the others one by one until he found the cuff leather he’d attached the spelled metal rune I’d made him. His sister coveted the leather cuff. She had her own made into a necklace but she didn’t really need it. He licked his finger and washed away the eyeliner. Though it was more him manipulating a little earth and water, but he was learning to hide his gift in the mundane things. And then he slapped the cuff pushing the leather cord with the infinity symbol up to hand over it.
Hunter reached into my pocket where I was keeping the charm bracelet and he clasped it around the same wrist. He shook my hand and it made no sound. “I think the rune keeps it silent. It kinda looks like a smashed up Venatori symbol.”
“Yeah. And something else but I don’t remember it.”
“Can I stay with you Daddy?”
Vin smiled, “Can we?”
I laughed, “I do have to go shopping for a Halloween costume, you wanna help?”
“Can you walk us out of here Vin?”
Hunter put his socks back in a row. “He’s just like you.” Vin said.
I nodded, “He’s my son, what can I say.” And then Hunter flipped off the lights and rushed back to me before he could forget and then we were gone. Back into the streets of New York hiding in plain sight and ready to spend the day together.
“What should I be?” I asked Hunter as we walked. Vin held my other hand. He wasn’t into men, but he wanted that connection I could feel it in our bond. He was mine, and I was his master. But I was pack, and even my vampires craved touch. I missed it. My heart had ached for it. I missed Alex. My heart broke at the loss of months of my life without him.
My world crumbled around me as we walked. And before I knew it Hunter and Vin were sitting with me against the side of a building hiding in the shadows of the world while I cried.
Hunter held my hand, the one with all the jewellery on it. He played with the smooth rune stone. He was deep in thought and I tried to think about my son. I tried to forget that I had forgotten everyone.
“Daddy,” his small voice sounded so far away in my grief. “I don’t think you are ready for this.”
“Hunter, I’ll never be ready to deal with the fact that I’ve spent eleven weeks away from my family.”
Hunter got up and sat in my lap, but the expression on his face as he took my chin in his tiny hand was dead on serious. “You can do it with Da around.”
“But then he’ll just forget. And…”
Hunter smiled. “I’ll fix it.” He picked up my hand and he undid the clasp but the stone still touched my skin as he pressed it to my wrist. “I’ll make Da one too. Three things though Daddy. You can’t pull in on yourself. You hurt yourself, Da will be angry. The bracelet will help you and you won’t know any different, right?”
I nodded, “And the other things?”
“Vin is going to have to leave now.”
“Why now?” Vin asked.
Hunter grinned, “You can’t be here when Daddy goes back to sleep. I’m supposed to have run away without anyone knowing.”
Vin pouted. It was sorta cute seeing this big bad vampire pouting because he was listening to a five year old. But Vin nodded and pulled himself off the ground. He knelt down and pressed a kiss to the top of my head. “I will always be yours to command. Call me and I will come for now and for ever more.”
I laughed, “You don’t have to be so formal.”
Vin chuckled, “I wasn’t being formal. I was swearing my blood line to yours.”
“I thought I was already your master?” I looked up as he now towered above us.
“I did, but I was doing it again. Reaffirmation of my beliefs, so the magic was fresh and pulled when you called.”
“I won’t remember to call.”
Vin nodded, “You will.”
I sighed I didn’t have any reason to doubt it, but I could feel him down the line of our connection, it would have to do. I felt Alex too. I was going to miss that connection. The tears started to fall again and Vin left with a ruffle to Hunter’s mop of hair.
“Daddy, I love you. Cassy loves you. We all love you. We miss you and you’ll be home with us before you know it. But you have to forget until the party okay. I’ll have Da a stone then. I promise.”
Hunter shook his head, “I’ll save you.” He pulled the stone from my skin with the tears still falling and my head fogged over. It was like falling asleep. My head fell forward and then I jerked myself awake. “Mr. Nox?” Hunter asked me, “You okay?”
I stood up and smiled wiping away the tears that lingered on my cheeks, I didn’t really know why. “You tripped and hit your head.”
I rubbed my head but there was no pain. I didn’t think that happened, but I didn’t remember what had happened last thing I remembered was Hunter finding me in the park. “What were we doing?” A hit to the head would explain the memory lapse.
“You were taking me costume shopping. You need a costume for Halloween.”
I nodded, “Yes, I promised Alex.”
“Da will be so happy you are coming.”