*The Watcher in the Darkness Series and all characters contained therein are the sole copyright of K.M. Spires. All rights reserved.*
The Watcher in the Darkness series contains adult situations, graphic violence, and lots and lots of bad language. Rated M for Mature, seriously.
The view from the Sanctuary bell tower was beyond amazing. It was one of the few things I’d actually missed, the ability to look out over the city in every direction.
At that moment, though, I was focused on Justine’s empty shrine. I didn’t expect her to suddenly appear—I’m not a fucking retard—but it wasn’t as though I had any other leads.
More than anything, I was enjoying the silence. The sky to the east was gray with the coming dawn, and the city below was just beginning to stir. A few stragglers among the Disavowed drunk-stumbled up the cobblestones, cutting it very close, but that wasn’t my problem or concern.
For the first time in weeks, my skull wasn’t threatening to split open. My head felt heavy and too full, but no longer as though railroad spikes were being driven into my temples. The daybreak was quiet, as though the city was holding its breath. This was the closest I’d felt to actual peace since…I didn’t know when.
Then, of course, I caught the scent of insufferable prick and all of my good feelings went away.
Without looking and in the shittiest tone I could possibly manage, I said, “What are you doing here?”
“I don’t need an excuse to come here. I go wherever I please.”
This was the peak of arrogance from most vampires; it was a simple statement of fact from my father. I shook my head in irritation as I said, “I’ll be sure to have Michael make up a bed for you. He’ll be so honored, he might just shit himself.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sebastian lean against a support post. His designer shirt was open at the collar, and his sleeves were rolled to the elbows. God, what a douche. “I need no host, Tobias. This is my territory.” He said this so casually he may as well have been commenting on the weather.
I looked at him at him at last. “When did that happen?”
“Today.” Sebastian’s slight smile betrayed him; the entitled dick was pleased with himself. “Mother finalized the legalities of the takeover this afternoon, and now this city is officially part of my territory. In the future, all tributes shall be paid forward to me.” When I failed to react, he said, “Mother sent me to share the good news with you.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Tell Hlin I said that it seems like an awful lot of money to spend just to keep me under her thumb.”
Sebastian gave me a stern look that was ruined by his baby face. “Any fortune is worthwhile if it keeps you from doing anything else to embarrass your family.”
I turned my attention back to the eastern horizon. “I don’t have family,” I said. “Only relatives.”
Sebastian was quiet, and I could feel his yellow stare crawl over me like a snake. “The sun will be up soon,” he said with forced nonchalance.
“You’d better go then.”
I heard the frown in his voice. “I know it won’t kill you, but you do burn, yes?”
I kept my eyes on the horizon. “That’s the idea.”
This was followed by yet another uncomfortable silence. “Your trial is in ten days.”
This caused my temper to flare. “The fuck, Sebastian. Did you think I forgot?”
Just as I had inherited his eyes, Sebastian had inherited Hlin’s ability to cut someone in half with a glance. “Your attorney is confident that he will get you acquitted.”
“Yeah, he seems like a good one. That’s why I’m going to do what I’d planned to do all along and fire him so I can change my plea back to guilty.”
“You’ll sit in your chair and do nothing.”
The vampire side of me responded at once to the attempted authority in his voice. “Is that so? And how do you plan on making me, old man?”
Sebastian’s posture remained statue-like, but I caught the very slight shift in his gaze that broke eye contact. “Hlin also said to tell you that although we as a family will admit no wrongdoing in Justine Walter’s death—”
“It was my fault.”
He went on as though I hadn’t spoken. “—we are prepared to offer Justine’s survivor a very generous settlement. Out of court, naturally. Would that pacify your guilty conscience?”
An unexpected surge of hostility swept up from the seemly bottomless pit of emptiness within. “You stay away from Elaina. She’s terrified of vampires. You’ll only scare her.”
Sebastian gave me a look that questioned my intelligence. It was the only way he knew how to look at me. “We weren’t going to meet with her directly. We’ll send a human representative, which is how these things are done.” He smirked as he shook his head. “You sound like her father.”
“And how the hell would you know what a father sounds like?”
Sebastian said nothing. We’d had this argument a thousand times before, and neither of us had the energy to do it again.
I turned my attention back to the dawn. “You need to leave. For good. It’s too late for me. I wish you and Hlin would just…go away and forget about me altogether.”
Again, Sebastian was silent. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I looked to find he was already gone.