Kalen had graduated a few years earlier; but had decided to stick around for a while instead of leaving right away. His original plan had been to travel with his parents after graduation, but since they had ended up turning it into their honeymoon trip, he had decided that would just be...awkward.
Instead, he had mostly flitted about the island, and spent his time on the beach with his grandfather, learning what his grandfather called, "valuable life lessons". Things like, 'stay on top of things; and know your limits.' or, one of Kalen's personal favorites, 'sometimes you just have to knock the f*cking idiot out so they don't drown you too'. Kalen grinned to himself. His grandfather was one of a kind, and he sure was going to miss him.
But, as much as he had enjoyed playing the beach bum these past few years, he was really starting to feel antsy. It was definitely time to move on, and do that traveling he had always dreamed of. He was going to start with Egypt, and work his way around the world, footloose and free, just the way he liked it.
His bags were packed and ready to go, he was leaving first thing in the morning, and he could hardly wait.
"What are you doing Grumpa?" He had been underwater for several minutes, obviously looking for something, but whenever she went down there, she didn't see anything.
"Looking for a good place to bury a body."
"Hmmph." Julia studied his face, trying to tell if he was joking or not. She thought he was, but then again...
She shook her head and decided to play along. "Who are we burying?"
"Well, isn't that freaking obvious? Your newest boyfriend."
Julia rolled her eyes. "Grumpa."
"What? You don't believe me?"
She splashed at him playfully. "Oh no, I believe you, but we already had this talk, remember? You are not allowed to kill my boyfriends."
"Pity." He sighed. "I heard there's an underwater cave around here, it would be the perfect place to stash a body."
"An underwater cave? Really? We've been all over this place though, so how could we have missed something like that?"
"Do you remember that Professor Dashwood guy?"
"You mean the one you nicknamed Dumba*swood, the loony that you kept having to rescue last summer?"
"Yeah," Colin shook his head, "That'd be the one. He had this theory..."
"About alternate realities and time lines, yeah, I remember. He spouted that off to anyone that would listen." Julia remembered the guy being a real nut job, and he couldn't swim worth a d*mn. So why he had insisted on going out on the open water was beyond her, at least he could have used a life vest, and saved her Grumpa the trouble of having to keep saving him from his own freaking stupidity.
"Dumba*s believed there was a hidden underwater cave, that only reveals itself when the conditions are right."
Julia scoffed. "He also believed that the Dread Pirate Roberts buried a king's treasure in a Kraken's cave, and we both know that's utter nonsense."
"Well," Colin sighed again, "It turns out that he might not have been all wrong."
"Grumpa, I am too old to fall for your fish stories."
He chuckled. "I had some f*cking good ones too." Colin grinned in remembrance, those were the days. "Your mother still falls for them though." He shook his head again, and then said soberly, "This isn't one of those stories though. I'm not f*cking around, since last summer, I've talked to a few more professors, ones who were way more f*cking credible than that wackjob."
Julia was still skeptical. "And you just happened to mention Kraken caves and pirate's gold to these other so called credible professors?"
"Of course not, don't be f*cking stupid." He waggled his finger at her. "One would think you have no faith in me Squirt. They talked, and I listened, sort of, bored out of my ever lovin mind. Why the h*ll I torture myself by attending Nathaniel's mayoral fund raising parties is f*cking beyond me, but I do. I must be a f*cking masochist." He muttered to himself, but then continued, "F*cking boring drones, the lot of them, at least Dumba*s is colorful in his beliefs."
Julia was confused, and if he was pulling another one of his pranks on her, she was going to be f*cking p*ssed off at him, because she was starting to get dragged into his story. "I don't understand, how..."
"Two months ago, while diving right about here, I spotted a gold coin. Didn't think too much about it at the time, but then the other day, I was at loose ends and f*cking bored, and I remembered the coin I had found. So I decided to find out a little more about it, h*ll, why not? It wasn't like I was f*cking doing anything else. So I took it in to the f*cking experts, at that little sh*thole they call a museum. I won't bore you with the f*cking long a*s details, trying to get nerds to just f*cking tell you the f*cking facts and nothing else is an exercise in f*cking patience," he grumbled, "but it turns out it belonged to one Lord Edward Robert Dregg, whose ship disappeared off the coast of China, back in the 18th century."
"The Dread Pirate Roberts part, I am guessing."
"That's the story. His cargo, it was a sh*tload of what they called Kraken Gold, because it had the image of one on each gold piece. Before I found that one, there was only one other piece of Kraken Gold ever found, at least, officially, and it is a part of a private collection in China. But...here's the thing. Why the f*ck did I find the Kraken Gold piece here? So far away from China? Lord Dregg never traveled this far. So I started thinking; someone must have f*cking dropped it, on accident, most likely someone like dumba*s Dumbwood, which would explain why the h*ll he kept trying to drown himself last year. I figured there might be some more gold there, so what the h*ll, I enjoy diving, and sh*t, I've got nothing better to do, so I went back." He stopped.
"And?" Julia prodded him. She was still half waiting for the punch line.
"I found a fissure instead."
Colin looked around. "As near as I can guess, yes, here."
"I knew you were f*cking with me." Julia said, p*ssed.
"Aw, f*ck. I'm not, I know it f*cking sounds like it, but I'm not. It's f*cking crazy, but I f*cking swear there was a deep fissure right about here, and a large cave was at the bottom of it. I dove down, and looked around, found a few more Kraken coins." He pulled a few coins out of his pocket and held them up for Julia to see. "I didn't go into the cave though. I don't know where the f*ck it goes, and I was by myself."
"You broke the golden rule, at least twice."
"I did." He shrugged. "I'll still kick your a*s if you do, but I want to find that fissure again, where the f*ck it went, I don't know, but I saw it, so it's here, somewhere." He frowned. "I think it somehow travels between times, like those portals that Jack is always going on about. When everything lines up, this particular portal f*cking appears, like magic, but then f*cking disappears once the conditions are no longer f*cking met. What the h*ll the conditions are, f*ck if I know. So, I'm looking for clues. You game?"
"Grumpa, if you're messing with me, I swear..."
"Scout's honor, I'm telling the f*cking truth."
"You were never a scout."
"I wanted to be."
"Liar. You're not exactly inspiring confidence here."
He laughed. "You're so f*cking suspicious. Fine, if I'm f*cking pulling one over on you, I'll give you my 69 GTO, free and clear."
Julia stared at him, shocked. That car was his baby, he wouldn't let anyone touch it, let alone drive it, let alone give it away. "You really saw it."
"I really f*cking saw it."
"So, are you ready to hunt for pirate's treasure?"
Julia groaned. "I never thought I would say this, but, I'm in."
Colin smiled at her. "That's my girl. Let's just keep this little side venture between you and me for now. If this ends up being true, things could get f*cking dangerous really fast. I already threatened the f*cking professors I talked to with dismemberment, so, we don't have to f*cking worry about them."
"I can take care of myself Grumpa." She reminded him.
"I know you can Squirt, but it's better if you're never in that position to begin with."
"I suppose so."
"No f*cking supposing about it. Now, let's get to work." He handed her one of the coins. "Keep it safe, and remember, always keep it the f*ck out of sight."
Julia leaned contentedly against Rian as he drove her to his house. She had finally talked him into letting her see where he lived, which had been no small feat, for some reason or another, he said he didn't trust himself alone with her in his house. So they had compromised, she promised to behave, and he promised to show her the outside. Indoors was still off limits, which made her really curious about what it looked like, but all in good time, she reminded herself. As her mother said, Rome wasn't built in a day. "Have you ever heard of a Kraken?"
He glanced at her. "The sea monster that attacks ships? When I was a boy, I heard a great many stories about it."
"Well, it's arms could reach higher than the mast of the ship, and it would literally crush the ship into pieces. I also heard it liked to eat small children." He smiled at her. "At least, that is what my mother told me when I ventured too close to the ocean."
He so rarely revealed anything about his past, that Julia jumped at the chance to learn more about him. "What was your mother like?"
"I don't remember too much about her." He said sadly. "She died when I was young, maybe eight years old or so. What I do remember though is the sound of her laugh, that she smelled like strawberries, I still love that scent because it reminds me of her, and most of all, I remember her wonderful imagination, she told the most amazing tales of knights and dragons and..."
He chuckled. "And krakens. We would sit on the warm sand, just watching the waves, and she would start telling me tales. One tale she told, was that a kraken, a fierce monster of the Sea, cannot be killed, but it can be charmed, by a song." He laughed, "I had almost forgotten about those Songs of the Sea that she had taught me, they would quiet the beast, she said." He shook his head. "I think she just liked to sing with me. She had a beautiful voice."
"She sounds like a lovely person."
"I'm sorry that you lost her at such a young age. What was her name?"
He hesitated for a moment. "Bella." He shook his head slightly, almost like he was amazed by something, but Julia decided that she was being fanciful again. He repeated his mother's name, this time, softly. "Her name was Bella."
She squeezed his fingers. "That's a very pretty name." Julia paused for a moment, and then asked, "After your mother...after your mother passed away, did your father raise you?"
"No," Rian answered, "he had died before I was born, in an ugly, brutal war. I lived with some distant cousins until I was accepted into the Academy."
"Oh, Rian, I'm so sorry..."
He smiled at her. "It's all ancient history now Julia, I'm okay, really. And, " he said, "here we are." He pulled into a driveway and shut the car off. He jumped out and opened the car door for her, eager to show her at least part of his home. "Welcome to my home." He held out his hand, and she grabbed it as she stepped out of the car. "Let me show you the view." Julia groaned. "What is it?" he asked her, puzzled.
"I said I would behave, but you're not making it easy on me." She grumped, but then she gasped once she saw said view.
"That view is amazing! Now I see why you live all the way up here on the mountain."
"It's beautiful." He agreed. "I find it quite...peaceful."
"What's it like...inside your house?"
"Small, and no, we are not going anywhere near there."
He sighed. "It consists of a bed, a small kitchenette, and an even smaller bathroom, that is it. It is all I require, there, does that satisfy your curiosity?"
"Hmm, how big is the bed?"
"Julia." He said mock sternly. "You promised to behave if I took you up here."
"But I am behaving! I haven't said a word about what we could do on a bed..."
He sighed. "You are incorrigible."
"That's the way you like me, admit it Rian." She wrapped her arms around him and looked up at him with sparkling eyes.
"Humph." He replied, refusing to answer, but he wound his arms around her and held her close.
A few moments of silence went by. "So...how big is the bed?"
He groaned. "Big enough."
She kissed his chin, and then the corners of his mouth. "For two?"
He closed his eyes. "You love torturing me, don't you?"
He kissed her, hard. "I think it's time I took you home."
She pouted. "Spoilsport."
"I like that name."
His smile was part exasperation, and part amusement. "You would."
Jack slammed his hand against the panel, "Stupid piece of banana poo." He muttered.
"I was this close! This close!" He wanted to stab at it with his screwdriver, but he restrained himself. The electrical panel sparked again, and more smoke billowed out of it. Jack growled. "Hack it!" Where had he gone wrong this time?
"It's not a good night for stargazing." Rian frowned. "But you can still see some of them, despite the clouds. Do you see those stars right there?" Rian pointed. "The ones that line up and resemble a w?"
Julia looked. "I see them."
"That is Cassiopeia."
"Cassiopeia? Who was she?"
"Legend has it, that Cassiopeia bragged that she was the most beautiful woman in the world, even more beautiful than the gods. This angered Poseidon, the brother of Zeus, for he had created the most beautiful beings ever in the form of his sea nymphs. Cassiopeia refused to recant, and in his fury, Poseidon created a giant sea monster..."
"Like a kraken?"
"Like a kraken, yes. This monster terrorized and ravaged the seas, and the sea coast; the people, who were quite terrified for their lives, decided that a sacrifice must be made to appease the monster. So they captured Andromeda, the only daughter of Cassiopeia, who was beautiful in her own right, and they tied her to a ship's mast, and set the ship free.
Soon enough, the sea monster came, and it rose to its full height in front of Andromeda, and it was about to swallow her whole, when she began to sing. The song was so haunting and pure, it stopped the monster in its tracks, and miracle of miracles, the song even lured it to sleep. It sank deep below the waves, and there it slept, and all hoped it would forever sleep."
"Is that one of your mother's stories?"
He nodded. "I have always found the night sky fascinating, even as a small boy. It's so vast, so...big, and each one of those stars up there is associated with the name of someone who might have once lived amongst us; and each have their own tales to tell. My mother would tell me their names, their histories, their heroic deeds, and their epic fails."
"Fails yes. I fear I am heading for one of those myself."
"Really?" She asked. "Why is that?"
He turned to look at her. "Because I feel things I should not feel."
She smiled at him, and kissed him softly. "That is the sweetest thing you have ever said to me."
He kissed the tip of her nose. "You are still incorrigible, and I think it is time that I take you back to your dwelling place." He stood up, and then offered her his hand.
She took his hand, and said, reluctantly, "If you must."
Her dad's stern words brought her up short. She had been lost in her thoughts again, "Sorry Dad, what did you say?"
He frowned. "Julia, you must pay attention, this is important."
She sighed, "I know, I know, I know. I'll do better, I promise." The problem was, all she could really think about was Rian. He was still being resistant to her efforts in introducing him to her family, the idea seemed to scare him. Well, maybe scare wasn't the exact word, it was more like he was...apprehensive? Anxious even.
A case of the nerves? Her Rian? He always seemed so...unflappable. Sometimes she wished she could be more like him.
It wasn't the first time he had been resistant to her ideas, though. At one time he had been very attached to his medieval style clothing, but she had convinced him to try on some jeans, and a shirt, and he had discovered he liked them. Sometimes he still wore his old clothes, but most of the time he wore the clothes she had helped him pick out. So there was progress there.
He had also been resistant to the idea of them being a couple too. He still wasn't fully on board with that idea, but she was making headway, surely it would be the same with him meeting her family? She just had to be patient; true, patience was not her strongest suit, but surely she could persevere? He was definitely worth it.
The blast that suddenly hit her, stung badly, and she hollered. "Ow! Dad! That freaking hurt!"
"Julia, I said, pay attention." He growled.
"Sh*t, what the h*ll, Dad?" She grumbled as she checked herself, she felt singed and wanted to make sure she wasn't on fire. Assured that she wasn't really hurt, she glared at her father. What the h*ll crawled up his a*s? She refrained from saying that out loud, he seemed to be in a peculiar mood and she didn't want to antagonize him any more than he already was.
"Julia, you need to take this seriously. Some day you may need to defend yourself, against people who'll attack you, and maybe even our family. They won't hold back like I do, they'll have no compunction against hurting you, or your mother, or anyone else, and I may not be here to protect you guys."
Julia stared at him, he was speaking words of some kind, she was sure of it. "What are you talking about? What people? Why? Where in the h*ll will you be, if not here?!"
Hawk sighed heavily. He was bungling everything up, as per usual lately. He was out of time, and desperate to know that his daughter could protect herself if he wasn't able to. His mother was searching for him, and it would not be long, before she found him. Found Julia.
"I won't live forever Julia." He said. "I want to be sure that I have done everything I can to make sure that you will always be safe."
Julia rolled her eyes. "I'm not a baby Daddy, I can take care of myself."
"Really?" He challenged her. "Prove it." He gathered up some power, and hurled it towards her, this time she blocked it. He smiled. "Good. Again." He didn't know what dangers Julia would face, when she faced the prophecy, but he needed to be sure that he did everything in his power to make sure she was ready for anything that it, or his mother, could throw at her.
The house was plain, white, and well kept, with only a few plants around it, nothing that would make an ordinary person view it with a sense of trepidation.
Hawk was no ordinary person though, and neither was the one who lived in the plain, white house. In a few moments Hawk would know whether he would get the help he sought, or if he would end up dead, or worse. His mission was too important to end in his death, so Hawk really hoped the guy was in a reasonable mood.
He walked up the stairs, and pressed the doorbell. At first he heard nothing, and thought he might have to return later, but then came the unmistakable sound of footsteps. He braced himself.
The door opened. "What are you doing here?"
Not the most auspicious of starts, but Hawk had no choice. His family was in danger. "I need to talk to you."
A frown. "Really? Hmmph, come on in then."
Now that Hawk knew his mother was actively looking for him, his choices were severely limited. For him to disappear the way he had, and to set up the safe guards the way he had, his mother would view it as a betrayal on his part. A betrayal that she, no doubt, would have expected, and maybe even hoped for; she would think he was trying to grab the power for himself. That would even please her, he knew, in a twisted sort of way, and after showing him the error of his ways, she would praise his initiative. Hawk knew all of this, it was the way she had raised him to be afterall.
Unfortunately, the real reason behind his betrayal, would not please her at all. It would be the worst betrayal of all: switching sides, and worse than that, falling in love...with Skye...
No, that ultimate act of betrayal would earn his death, but if there was any way he could keep his family alive and safe, then he would do it. No matter the cost to himself. He was a dead man walking anyway, he held out very little hope that he would survive the confrontation with his mother.
Hawk followed his host inside, and down a small hallway into the living room. Rhys gestured for him to have a seat, but Hawk preferred standing for this little conversation.
Rhys Van Gould. Cousin to one Reilly Kahekili, deceased now for a great many, many, many years. Reilly was one of the few who had ever been strong enough to put a little fear into his mother, Raven. Hawk had once thought Reilly a fool though, for choosing to not extend his life, now he understood Reilly's reasoning for it, and he even agreed with him. The consequence though, of not draining others of their lives so that he could live longer, was that Hawk was aging now, just like Reilly had aged, while Hawk's mother still retained her youth. And with that, her full power.
Rhys, on the other hand, did not need to drain life out of others to live longer, his kind simply had a very long lifespan. "You're Skylar's husband, right? What do you want?"
The tone was barely polite, but Hawk didn't let it bother him. He had too many other things on his mind to worry about. "I need your help, the family is in danger."
Rhys' eyes narrowed. "Go on, I'm listening."
"You have the ability to read minds, correct?"
"Yes," Rhys said slowly, "But I mostly block out the thoughts of others, I really don't want to hear what they are thinking," He shrugged, "It's usually stupid, inane stuff." He concentrated for a moment, and then said, "You are blocking me though, and you are very good at it."
"I have something important to tell you."
"Do you now?" Rhys grinned, baring his teeth. "Will I like this something important?"
"No," Hawk said flatly, "but I need your promise that you will not kill me until you hear all of it."
Rhys glared at Hawk. "I promise nothing."
"I need your promise, and your help, or a lot of people are going to die, like my wife, and my daughter. I will do whatever I have to, to protect them. Give me your promise, and I will open my memories to you, and you will know the whole truth, and the whole danger."
Rhys' hand shot out and grabbed Hawk around the throat as he hissed. "I could force it."
Hawk didn't fight him, but stared steadily at him instead. This was the most important gamble of his life. "You will get nothing from me without my cooperation. Kill me now, and you will know nothing, and you will be unable to protect any of them. We are on the same side, I promise."
Rhys held him up a few minutes more, then dropped him in disgust. He took a step back and growled, "Fine. You have my word, I will not kill you until I have the full story. And then I will probably kill you."
Hawk rubbed his throat, nodded, and then as he had promised, dropped his guards and let Rhys in. It was always an uncomfortable feeling to have someone knocking around in your brain, especially if that someone was suspicious of your motives. Speaking words would take too long, and it would be too easy for Rhys to misunderstand what Hawk was trying to say or do or explain. No, as uncomfortable as it was for him to have Rhys in his mind, it was the most efficient and expedient way.
Hawk held nothing back.
Memories flooded him. His mother handing him the knife. "Do it." Ivory looking up at him with dead eyes, and blood on her hands. His father's last words, "I regret nothing, because my choices gave me you as my son." The first time he saw Skye, in that little room, he with no clothes on, her with that enchanting blush on her cheeks. The first time he held her hand, their first kiss, Prom night...on and on the memories flowed, until suddenly they stopped, and Rhys was no longer there.
The exchange itself took mere moments Hawk knew, but it felt like a lifetime. He stood quietly and watched as Rhys processed all that he had learned. There were a lot of memories in a man's mind, so it didn't surprise Hawk any that it was taking Rhys some time. Finally Rhys looked up at him and said, "Forget me, he's going to kill you."
Hawk agreed. "That's one reason why I need your help."
Rhys chuckled bitterly. "You think I'll stop him?" He shook his head. "Of course you do." He answered his own question. Rhys had been in Hawk's mind, he knew his thoughts, and the crazy hackneyed plan that he had come up with.
"I want to kill you, why should I stop him?" Rhys snarled. "What you have done..."
Hawk sighed. "I know, but you will not kill me, and you will keep him from killing me, because you know the truth, that without me, many will die, if not all of them, and Julia..." Hawk's voice trailed off. "Julia will become my mother's pawn, and she will become more terrible than either of us could ever imagine."
Rhys was quiet. "So you hope to use me as some sort of truth detector, and murder preventer."
"Once they know who my mother is, they will no longer trust what I say, and I do not blame them. However, it is very important that they trust what I have to say, it is a catch 22." Hawk said helplessly. "They will trust you, and they will know that if I speak any false hood, you will tell them so." He shrugged in frustration. "It is the best way I can think of." He spoke in a matter of fact tone, but he didn't feel anywhere near that calm about it. Inside he felt a great amount of fear and distress, all of which was his own fault, but that didn't make it any easier.
What would Skye and Julia think of him once they found out the truth?
"So you want to do this now." Rhys said slowly.
"We have very little time."
Rhys nodded. "Let's do it then."
Notes: What? A short chapter? From me? And a kind of sort of cliff hanger? Yeah, sorry. It was supposed to be all in one chapter, but then the scenes started getting out of hand, and the chapter was really, really, horrendously long. Even by my standards, lol :P So I cut it, and that was the best place.
Poor Kalen ended up being an afterthought, even worse, I almost forgot about him. *hangs head in shame* Yep, tis true. It was only when I was looking up something that I remembered that--oh yeah! Kalen hasn't graduated yet in the story---I gotta send him off somewhere. So, he's "traveling".
I'm still not too sure about this pirate stuff---Julia and Colin ganged up on me though. It'll suit Julia's roll, and it'll add to the plot I already had for her, it just complicates things a little bit. I wrote that scene and the entire time I was thinking---what?! Pirates? Krakens? I don't want to track down a kraken! *feels lazy* I almost deleted it half a dozen times, but, so far it has made the cut. I haven't hit post yet though, lol :P (Edit: I guess I hit post. :/)
Rhys lives forever, I swear. Partly because whenever I change hometowns, I forget to check the SP setting that disallows aging for vampires, and partly because, vampires live forever, lol They have longer lifespans than fairies, and fairies live forever...well...maybe half of forever. XD
Short note for a short chapter. Next time is the big scene--the one that is getting away from me---I swear it is never ending. I keep thinking---okay---and it ends---here. Or not...lol
Thanks for reading! =)
PS--I may have been a fan of The Princess Bride, and the Sims2 pirate...