Robin crossed over to the bad side of town.
His stomach knotted up.
What if Antioch’s dead?
Yeah, I hate the man’s guts. I sure ain’t gonna cry if he is dead. Guy’s a grade A louse in a bucket.
Robin walked in silence.
He looks so much like Dad.
If he dies, it’ll be like Dad dyin’ all over again. I ain’t ready for that. I know Mom ain’t ready too.
But if he’s all alive and well, what? Do I just smile and say “Yay! You’re alive. Okay. Bye now.”?
Where do we go from there?
Will he really be all “Oh dear. My great big solitary Institute love interest got all burned down. Okay. I’m all ready to be Peter Hastings for you all.”? Is that somethin’ he’d really want?
Do I want it anymore?
I’m sure she does.
He turned the corner and headed down the long, straight street leading towards Mark Caten’s Funarium.
But he don’t deserve her.
After ev’rythin’ he’s done to Missy and Raven and me, he don’t deserve no stinkin’ happy ending. Least of all with my Mom.
He deserves to live and die all alone.
Robin stopped outside the fence.
What if he is dead?
How will I ever tell Mom?
He slipped through the torn fence.
He clenched and unclenched his hands as he approached the ruins.
I ain’t ready to see him again.
‘sellta, if you were here.
Ohh. If only you were here with me now. I’d hold your hand.
I’d still be a nervous wreck, but the touch of your hand would help me.
Robin stopped halfway across the yard.
Two men were walking around inside the ruins.
One was a fey with rigid set wings.
The other was a man in a familiar gray suit. He raised his head and seemed to sniff the air.
Robin took a nervous step back.
The gray suited man looked right at him.
Peter Hastings’ brat kid. He has nothing to do with me. He can go rot in a cave in Albania.
“Here.” LM knelt next to a pile of burnt wiring and ceiling tiles.
Antioch walked over to him.
“I left him right here.”
“Are you sure?”
LM bowed his head. “There is a trace of his scent. I know his scent.”
Antioch knelt. “I want to see him.”
“So do I. I need to see him.”
The vampire and the half-fey fell silent as they dug through the pile.
So, he is alive.
I can go. I can just leave it at that. What happens to him now ain’t none of my business or concern.
He’s all grown up.
He can take care of his own freakin’ self.
He don’t need us one bit. He sure has proven that point plenty.
But Mom will have questions.
And she’s gonna want answers.
Robin extended his claws and stalked towards the ruins.
Robin’s tangerine scent intensified to the point where Antioch couldn’t ignore it anymore.
He sighed heavily and rose to his feet.
Robin stood at the brink of the disaster site, right where the doorway should have been.
“What do you want, boy?”
“From you? A whole heck of a lot of nothin’.”
“Good. Then, you can leave.”
“Mom’s worried about you.”
Antioch gave him a cold look. “Your mother is not my wife. You should go home and tell her that.”
Robin grabbed a chunk of masonry and threw it at him. “I HATE YOU! You ain’t my dad. You got his face, but you sure as heck ain’t got his heart.” He picked up a warped metal pole and flung it at him. “You ain’t got any heart. If a hunter tried to stake you, well.” He scooped up a handful of debris and pelted him with the lot. “Good luck to them findin’ anythin’ to stake!”
“Go away, boy. Your temper tantrum is annoying me.”
Robin let out a roar and charged at him.
Antioch picked up a sink that had somehow gotten disconnected from its plumbing. He was about to throw it at Robin.
Then, Robin ran into an invisible wall. He fell back pretty much head over heels. He sat up and shook his head. “What the heck?”
“That was courtesy of my lord. He banned me from ever coming near his family and friends. Apparently, he included you in that statement.”
“So, what? I can’t come to you and you can’t come to me?”
“Precisely. Thanks to my lord, I can never play the role of Peter Hastings. Not that I even wanted to.”
Robin stood and headed back to destruction’s dividing line.
Antioch dropped the sink. “Boy!”
“It doesn’t matter to me. You and your mother do not matter to me.”
Robin’s hands clenched.
“But I am curious. What are you going to tell her?”
“Ain’t none of your bleedin’, blazin’ business.”
Robin ran away.