Mystic Falls — this place had been their home once upon a time. A thousand years or more ago, yet Nathaniel still remembered it like it was yesterday. He remembered the small, hand-built homes that they had been happy to reside in and the homely atmosphere that had surrounded it. Back then, everyone had known everyone. It had long changed since then. The land they had once lived on had been destroyed. Trees had been cut down, replaced with large buildings and the stench of darkness lingered in every corner. Over time, the supernatural had destroyed this small town. It had overtaken it, leaving it nothing but a shadow of what it used to be.
To say that he was unhappy to be back would be an understatement. He was fucking miserable. When Zander had first told him that they would be returning for business, he’d hoped it was a joke. Unfortunately it was not and where his pack went, Nathaniel went especially when news reached him that Katniss would be joining them. She was the light to his darkness, after all. And she had helped him deal. Being with her was something he only ever used to dream about, but now it was finally happening. She kept him safe at night, eased the memories that threatened to come back.
It was moments like these though, when he was left alone to wallow in his thoughts that he started to remember. This was where everything had gone wrong. The place he had been when he stupidly decided to take an army into battle during the Viking invasion.
He left home with twenty six strong soldiers willing to follow him. Some had been no older than sixteen. They had been husbands, sons. Four years they fought by his side. The battle was fierce, blood was shed and limbs were sliced off without a second thought. Nowadays that was a simple night out with Dante, but back then it had been living hell. He returned with only five men. Nathaniel had never been the same again after that. He knew deep down that was why he had been so willing to accept the offer that Zander gave him. Turning had been his escape. It had saved him from slipping into the insanity that war thrust you into. It had stopped the nightmares that haunted his sleep.
Being back here brought them all back though. He couldn’t wait to leave.
Footsteps from behind broke him away from these thoughts, much to his relief. The presence of his old friend hit him and a small smile traced his lips. Nathaniel had a lot of respect for Zander. Not only had he taken him for a life he no longer wanted to live, but they had spent many years side by side. He was his oldest friend, his brother and his savior. He wasn’t sure why the other man had requested a meeting with him and him alone tonight. Normally they met as a pack, though he was sure there was good reason for it.
Taking a sip of the red wine that he held in his hand, he slowly turned to face the other male. “My friend.” He bowed his head as a sign of respect, something he did frequently. Dante laughed every time he did, but Nathaniel didn’t care. Respect was very important to him and always would be. This much was proven by the fact there was a gin and tonic (with a bit of lime, of course) ready and waiting on the table for Zander. Nothing but the best for his leader. “I judge everything is okay? It’s unlike us to have an official meeting without the others.”
Zander hated Mystic Falls. He grimaced as walked through the town, slinging the slim ankle of another dead hybrid over his shoulder once more. The man’s head dragged on the sidewalk with a low crinkling noise and the darkness enveloped them both. He just didn’t want to be in this bloody town anymore and he thought it was foolish that Klaus even chose to come back. Idiot vampire. He found his way to the front of the mansion with his lips pulling into a cruel smile once more as he got a better grip on the hybrid’s ankle. If Klaus wanted to come back to Mystic Falls, Zander was happy to follow. He was easy to corner here. While Klaus grew up in the same village, Zander was born into it. He knew this place better than anyone. He swung the lifeless body and released it at the last moment, letting it fly onto the porch with a loud thud. There was a piece of paper pinned to his chest with two words scrawled across it.
He heard the familiar growl of the hybrid as he left the mansion behind. It was all part of the plan to get Klaus angry, angry enough to leave his safe haven and come to them. They wanted to fight on familiar ground, they would have the upper hand as Que said. It was genius and it meant a lot of hybrids needed to be taken out. The twins and Kat were running around down doing just that. Zander knew that Nate was waiting for him back at their house, to have their talk. This is part of leadership that Zander hated. He didn’t like to have serious talks with anyone but he was glad it was Nate. Out of the whole pack, he was closest to him. They were best friends more or less. He didn’t want to have this talk with him, but he felt it was necessary as a group.
The tension between Nate and Kat was always apparent to everyone except Nate and Kat. Dante called it within the first five minutes of meeting them, Zander noticed it maybe a week later, Quillian knew within the month. Though Kat adamantly denied it flat and Nate acted like he never heard the question. Over the years they somehow managed to avoid taking it further, Zander had no idea how they managed that, but they did. Then a hundred and fifty years passed without them seeing one another and everything shifted. Zander watched as they both begin to grow more affectionate with each other, taking any excuse to be touching the other. Kat would get into an argument with Dante and all Nate has to do is put a hand on her shoulder then her whole body relaxes and she gives up. More than once he has caught Kat creeping out of his room early in the morning.
He bound up the stairs of their large mansion listening to the noises within. He heard Nate moving around and prepared himself for the conversation he was to have with his oldest friend. He didn’t want to offend him in any way, he just wanted to make sure he knew what he was doing. This could make or break their pack. Zander had to take all the steps of precaution that he could. He wouldn’t be the one to talk to Kat, no not in a million years - he’d leave that to Father. Approaching his friend, he dipped his head slightly in return of the respect extended to him. Zander wasn’t a complete brute quite yet. “Nathaniel, please sit.” He motioned for his friend to sit while he made his drink.
The room was quiet even while Nate spoke, his voice never louder than needed to be. His drink only took a matter of moments to make and he moved to the seat across from Nate. Taking a sip from his drink, he leaned back into the chair and unbuttoned the front buttons looking over at his friend. “Everything is fine. I just needed to speak with you alone. I don’t think you’d want the others to hear what we have to discuss.” He took a much larger drink from his glass and stared into it for a moment, choosing his words carefully. “My friend, the conversation we are about to have is to be kept between us.” Moving forward on his seat, he set the glass on the table between them and leaned forward on his knees.
"I do not come to you from a place of disrespect or curiosity, I come to you as a leader and a friend." His blue eyes met his trying to express his sincerity. "The relationship you have with Kat…" He began slowly trying to gauge his reaction. "I do not desire to know all the details or anything of the sort. But I have to ask if you know what you are doing. I’ve seen this develop over the last thousand years and I should have expected this.. But I’m sorry, my friend, the pack comes first. If you do this with her, I need to know that if it ends - though I pray that it does not ever come to that - you will still stay loyal to us. I can not have this tearing apart what we spent years doing.” He sighed loudly, his hand running over his face then through his short hair.
"You two are some of my closest friends and I applaud the fact that you finally noticed each other. But I’m a leader first, friend second. I do apologize once more for coming to you with this, you know its the last thing I want to do.”
"What do you want, Kat? I can feel you lingering." Katniss walked in from around the corner and stared at Zander. She shot him a look that told him that she was not to be trifled with. Zander let out a low sigh, more to himself than anything else, and continued to write.
"What are you even writing?"
"The next teen romance novel. It’s about a werewolf falling in love with a turtle."
Zander was clearly annoyed as he snapped the journal shut and looked up at her. While she was clearly upset with him, he wasn’t in the mood for her behavior either. The fight that broke out between Rae and Zander had been particularly nasty that date and he didn’t want to deal with anyone else. She moved closer to him with her eyes narrowed at him. Her mouth made no effort to argue so he just opened his journal again and continued writing. If she wasn’t going to talk, he would simply ignore her.
"If you keep this up, you’ll lose her before you’ve even had her."
This caught his attention, though he made no clear attempt to look at her again, his eyes just merely shifted to the side with a slight lift of his chin. She clicked her tongue and laughed loudly with no humor in it.
"You are so thick, I swear. It is just like the old years. You careless, arrogant, fool.” He looked up at her then with a glint in his eyes that she had seen many times before, except this time she didn’t cower. She simply rested her hands on her hips as if daring him to challenge her.
"She isn’t a guardian of the pearly gates anymore." Her sarcasm laced each word. "She is human, Zander. Just like you and I once were and partially are now. And do you realize what humans have? Feelings.” Her hands moved away from her hips and towards him, in a fluid moment, as if she was explaining to someone that was particularly slow. He understood the joke instantaneously.
"Why should I care if she is human or not?" He question allowing his eyes to meet hers. He acted as if he simply did not care for the topic at hand or that he was bored. She knew him better than that.
"You care because, whether or not you have chosen to accept it, you love her. But if you continue on like this, not only will you lose her. You will break her.” Kat took one final look at him and left the room. Zander watched her go and noticed that Nate was standing at the door, waiting for her, unbeknownst to Zander’s keen observation skills. He must have approached while they were speaking. His eyes continued to watch as the strangest thing happened.
Nate smiled watching her approach and reached for her, his hand enveloping her smaller one while pulling her too him. Their lips met and Zander understood why it was important for him to make it up to Rae. He wanted that. Their love, their understanding, their comfort.
Kat was right, he loved Rae, but he was killing her in the process.
Zander grinned as the blood splattered across his face. Little flecks of red tainted his pale face and he couldn’t contain himself. A little giggle of glee left his lips which caused the others in the room to turn to him. Katniss had a look in her eyes that told him she was still out for blood and S looked as if he was bored. He knew him better than that, he was waiting for the signal to kill. The rest of the occupants were freshly born hybrids from Klaus’s army. This was the way to get to him, Zander knew it well, and he was going to take advantage of it. With a simple wave of his hand, everything happened instantaneously. Kat drew her sword quickly and sliced two of the hybrids head’s clean off. It was faster than a blink of an eye before she advanced on another. S preferred the older methods, his hand going into the chest of one hybrid ripping the heart clean out. He snapped the neck of the other.
It was like watching a ballet of death. They were beautiful when they killed.
It was what both of them were born for and Zander never got tired of watching. The years had separated them and he finally felt like the family was back together again. “Let’s go. He will get the message.” Kat nodded as she ran a rag down her blade and S looked like he needed more. He knew that feeling all too well, Zander approached his side and clapped his hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, mate. This is only the beginning.” The grin across his face matched his own as they left the discarded bodies behind. Somewhere along the way back to the mansion, Kat and S abandoned him. Something about Nate and Q needing them elsewhere. It seemed there were more people that needed to be taught a lesson. Zander was okay with it, he had something else to attend to.
He could smell the fallen angel as soon as he passed the threshold of the door. Her heart beat steadily, she hadn’t realized he was home yet. For a moment, he just stood by the door listening to her heartbeat. The sound of her breathing finally made its way to his ears to mix with her constant heartbeats. He didn’t know how it exactly happened, her living with the original wolves in the mansion, but he didn’t mind. Honestly, he didn’t. The others didn’t question it either. Nate took it silence, Kat simply raised an eyebrow, Q just shrugged it off and S looked like he wanted to say something. The look Zander sent him had him just mumbling off alone. Looking down at himself, Zander realized he was still covered in blood. Normally he would relish in it possibly not even cleaning himself for awhile. But with Rae in the house, never with Rae in the house.
He had to resist stopping by her room to make her squirm. It wasn’t that he was trying to be nice, Zander was not nice. Nuh uh. Nope. No way. Well fine maybe. The shower overwhelmed as he tried to scrub all of the remnants of blood. It shouldn’t stain, it was still relatively fresh when he got into the house. Zander was just trying to make her stay easier, one way he could do that was turning down the jabs. She actually had feelings now. He had to keep reminding himself of that. As soon as the red stains left his body, he hoped out of the shower and proceeded to dress quickly. He was pulling his jumper over his head as he moved across the hall to Rae’s room. Of course she would have the room across from his, why would he put her anywhere else?
Just as he was going to knock on her door, he remembered he had something for her. He quickly ran back into his room and checked his coat pockets. Fingering it gently, he pulled at the thin chain and stowed it away in his jean pocket. It was a simple necklace with a pair of wings at the end. He found it on the ground of the house they raided the night before. He wouldn’t tell her that part, secrets were best kept secret. Instead of knocking on her door, he just walked in as usual. “Good morning, love.” He greeted her warmly and immediately dropped onto her bed. He was always like this. Too friendly with her, too close for her comfort, and he didn’t want to change that about him. “I have a present for you.” He dug into his pocket and pulled it out the delicate necklace. “You can’t say I don’t get you nice things now.” He held it out to her delicately letting the pendant swing lightly.
He hoped that she would just take it no questions or arguments. Though knowing Rae, nothing was ever that easy.