Note: Well here it is folks, the last chapter of Identity. Thanks for sticking with me until the end. You have NO idea how grateful I am to every reviewer (except my one flame). Thank you guys SO much!!!!! And now I proudly present the last chapter of Identity. Oh yes, and there's a special bonus at the end—an excerpt from Dark Angel. Enjoy!!
My fathers allowed Bryan and me to stay together because I could have children and that was good for repopulating th world. Bryan and I were given a home of our own, where we raised our own family. It was not an easy life, but that was all right with me. I was happy.
The door opened and closed. Aleksei and Daire looked up as Dante crossed the living room, covered in blood. One thing was for sure; John's execution had been messy. Dante didn't look very happy.
"No matter how many times I kill someone, it always makes me sick," he muttered more to the ground than to them.
"You should drop the act and tell us who you really are," Aleksei said angrily, detaching himself from Daire and getting to his feet.
He tried to ignore the stinging pain in his shoulder and mask his discomfort, but Dante saw his wince.
"Are you all right?" Dante asked, his eyebrows knitting into a frown.
"Fine…" Aleksei gritted his teeth.
Dante wasn't convinced. "Let me see."
"I'm fine," Aleksei protested.
Dante raised his eyebrows. He physically forced Aleksei to sit on the couch.
"Stay," he ordered, pointing at Aleksei. "I'll be right back."
He vanished into the bedroom. Daire shifted Bryan off his lap and rose. He walked over to the couch.
"Let me see," he murmured, kneeling down in front of Aleksei.
Aleksei growled under his breath, but did not hinder Daire from removing his shirt. A small amount of blood trickled down Aleksei's right shoulder. Daire sucked in his breath; the sight of blood always made him slightly uncomfortable.
"Well? How does it look?" Dante asked.
Daire and Aleksei looked up and exchanged a confused look; neither of them had heard him enter the room again.
"It's not too bad," Daire replied. "I'm not really sure though."
"Well then, let me take a look, huh?" Dante smiled and stepped forward.
He carried a small first aid kit with him that he put on a small table next to the couch Aleksei sat on. He opened the kit, pulled on a pair of rubber gloves, and kneeled in front of Aleksei. Daire got up and stood to the side, watching anxiously as Dante examined Aleksei's shoulder.
"It doesn't look bad at all," Dante said at last. "The bullet just barely grazed his shoulder. It doesn't look like it even penetrated his body. And I don't think it hit any of his organs either."
"Wha a relief," Daire murmured.
"I'll just patch him up and he'll be as good as new. Daire, can you get the antiseptic, some gauze, and some medical tape?" Dante shifted his position slightly.
Daire nodded and turned around. He grabbed the items Dante requested and silently handed them to the red haired man. Dante made quick work of Aleksei's shoulder, spraying antiseptic on the wound and applying gauze and tape. Aleksei hissed under his breath when the antiseptic touched his skin, but did his best to hold as still as possible.
"There!" Dante declared, getting up and stepping back once his work had been finished. "Good as new!"
The front door opened and closed a second time. Arlen came in.
"Is everything all right?" he asked.
"Yeah, it's fine," Dante replied.
"Everything went according to plan then?" Arlen asked.
"Well, almost." Dante glanced sadly at Bryan's body.
Arlen followed his gaze. He did not gasp out loud, but his eyes widened.
"I…see," he said in a hard voice.
"You never answered me Dante," Aleksei said from the couch. "Who the hell are you? Why did the guards take orders from you and ignore John's commands?"
Dante smiled. "They take orders from me because I'm the Chief of the Police Force."
Daire and Aleksei gasped softly and stared at him.
"I don't…believe it," Daire whispered.
Dante laughed at the reaction. "Yeah, I am even though I'm just thirty two years old. I was appointed to be the Chief of the Police Force when I was twenty six, the youngest one ever appointed. It was through the same chain of unfortunate events that reunited me with Arlen that I was made the Chief of the Police Force. It's not a title I ever sought after, but I've accepted my job. I commute every day to the Police Force Headquarters, which fortunately isn't too far from here."
For the third time that day, the front door opened and someone came in. This time, it was a lone guard who entered.
"Chief Winters, we're almost wrapped up here," he said.
"All right. I'll be there soon," Dante replied.
The guard saluted and left.
"What's going to happen now?" Aleksei asked.
"The Institute will be closed," Dante answered, turning back around. "The young Bearers and Breeders who still have biological parents will be reunited with them. Those who do not have surviving parents will be reunited with their foster parents and those who do not have foster parents will be placed in foster care. The older Bearers and Breeders who have passed the age of eighteen will be assisted in getting homes and jobs. They'll be able to start over. Of course, you fall into the last category, Aleksei." Dante surveyed Aleksei intently. "Records indicate you're going to be turning twenty soon. Am I right?"
"Yes, that's right," Aleksei mumbled.
Dante turned to Daire, his face serious. "You must make a choice, Daire. You can go back to your foster parents, you can live with Arlen and me, or you can live with Aleksei."
Daire was silent for a while, thinking. His face was troubled. "I don't know what to decide."
"Do what your heart tells you," Arlen urged.
"I want to…" Daire said slowly. "I want to stay with Aleksei."
Aleksei looked surprised, but smiled. "I'm glad you want to stay with me, after everything I put you through."
Daire smiled. "Of course, you idiot. I love you."
Dante was smiling.
"We're happy that you're happy Daire," Arlen said with a small smile of his own. "I know you'll be happy together. You can start your own family."
"Thank you." Daire smiled.
He glanced down at Bryan's body and that smile faded away.
Dante saw. "We'll take care of him. Aleksei, do you know if Bryan had any family?"
Aleksei shook his head. "He was orphaned when he was sixteen."
"So he doesn't have anyone?" Daire breathed.
"He has us," Aleksei pointed out.
"We'll get Bryan taken care of," Dante said softly. "Arlen, go see if you can find some clean clothes for Bryan to wear. I'll be right back. I need to make some arrangements."
Dante and Arlen left. Aleksei and Daire were alone for the moment. Daire sat next to Aleksei on the couch, leaning back against the cushions, and closing his eyes.
"So…" Aleksei said slowly. "You really want to live with me, huh?"
"Yeah. Why wouldn't I?" Daire frowned.
He sat up and opened his eyes, looking directly at his mate.
"I don't know." Aleksei shrugged. "It's not going to be an easy life."
"I know," Daire murmured. "We can face it though." He placed his hand on top of his mate's.
Arlen soon came back with a bundle of clothes in his arms. Caelyn was behind him.
"Where's Rian?" Daire asked, noting the infant's absence.
"Asleep in the bedroom," Caelyn answered.
"I had a crib I used after Daire was born," Arlen added.
He brought the clothes over to where Bryan's body lay and kneeled down.
"Aleksei, can I have some help from you?" he asked.
"Of course," Aleksei replied softly.
He got off the couch and helped Arlen take off the blood-stained clothes and put the clean clothes on. Daire stood back by Caelyn, watching.
"The Institute is being closed," Daire said softly.
"Yeah, I know," Caelyn replied. "Arlen just told me."
"So what are you going to do?" Daire asked.
"Not sure…" Caelyn's gaze was distant. He was silent for a while. "What about you?"
"Aleksei's going to get an apartment or a house somewhere and we're going to live together. We'll probably start a family. I'm not sure what Aleksei's planning to do yet. We haven't really discussed it."
"How nice." Caelyn smiled. "If Aidan were here, I'd probably do the same. in October, but I'm not sure I'm ready to live on my own yet. Perhaps I'll find my biological parents and live with them, that is, if they're still alive."
"Dante and I can help." Arlen unexpectedly turned around. "We have connections through Dante's position as the Chief of the Police Force as well as both our positions on the Council. We can find your true parents, if you wish."
"Yes." Caelyn nodded.
Arlen smiled a little and turned back around. He and Aleksei finished what they were doing and stood. They waited until Dante returned.
"Everything is being taken care of," Dante said softly, standing near the door. "My men are getting a coffin and a site where we can bury him. They'll meet us at the entrance. All we have to do is bring Bryan there."
"I'll do it," Aleksei volunteered.
"But you've been hurt," Dante protested.
"I'm fine," Aleksei assured him with a smile.
"You need to reset your shoulder," Dante said sternly. "Overexerting it will be bad. Trust me, I've seen what can happen from using a wounded shoulder too much even if it's the smallest of wounds. We don't really know how serious the wound is and the last thing we wanna do is aggravate it because it might turn out to be fatal."
"Fine." Aleksei sighed in defeat. "How are we going to get Bryan's body moved then?"
"I'll carry him," Dante replied.
He walked over to where Bryan's body lay, bent down, and easily picked him up. Aleksei put his shirt back on with help from Daire. Caelyn fetched Rian from his crib.
"This way," Dante said. "Follow me."
They left the apartment with Dante leading. Aleksei and Daire followed with their arms around each other. Caelyn was next, carrying Rian. Arlen took the rear.
They must have made a strange sight, Dare supposed, as they walked down the twisting hallways, passing by a few people who instantly stopped whatever they were doing and stared. Dante was covered in blood and was carrying a body. Aleksei and Daire were both bloody. Caelyn had turned extremely pale and the color had not yet returned to his face. And Arlen was apathetic. Daire didn't understand how his father (one of them at least) could be so apathetic at the moment. Even Aleksei was shaken. Even Dante looked grim. But Arlen was as neutral as ever. Daire didn't understand it at all.
They soon came upon a lot more people; guards, workers, teachers, and even some Breeders and Bearers. The latter groups were intermingling now, all protocol of The Institute forgotten. It did not matter any longer; The Institute was closing and John was dead. There was no one to tell them that they had to be separated any longer.
And despite their freedom, the Breeders were behaving themselves, standing silently by the Bearers. Mates stood together and the rest of the Breeders hung out around them.
Perhaps, Daire thought as they passed the Breeders and the Bearers. Perhaps John was wrong about them after all. They can control themselves.
They certainly looked shocked as the group went by.
Daire's thoughts were interrupted by a horrified gasp. He looked up. Alden pushed his way through the crowd. He saw Bryan's body being carried by Dante and gasped again.
"Bryan!" he cried, running forward. "What happened? What happened to him?!"
"He was shot," Aleksei replied grimly as Alden fell in step with them. "By John."
"Oh my god," Alden said faintly. "Oh my god!"
He started crying. His hand went to his mouth to try and cover his sobs, but he was unsuccessful.
"I'm so sorry Alden. It's my fault," Daire whispered. Alden looked at him curiously. "John was trying to shoot me and Bryan got in the way." He could not hide the emotions in his voice, the pain."He protected my life in exchange for his own."
Alden didn't say anything, which made Daire feel even worse. He buried his face in Aleksei's shoulder, willing the tears away. Aleksei responded by placing a light kiss on the top of Daire's head.
They finally reached the entrance to The Institute, the official entrance. There were guards everywhere, doing various tasks. As Dante passed, they stopped whatever they were doing and saluted. Dante nodded at them in acknowledgement. At the doors was the Council in its entirety (lacking, of course, only Arlen and Dante), all of them dressed in their usual black robes.
None of their facial expressions changed when they saw Dante carrying Bryan and suddenly, Daire understood why Arlen behaved the way he did. He really was a kind and caring person, but he needed to turn off his emotions at times or else he would not be able to do his job properly.
"Is everything taken care of?" the raven haired woman asked.
"Yes Luna." Dante nodded. "We just need to bury this boy."
"Is that Bryan?" It was the man with straw-colored hair who spoke, his voice filled with curiosity.
"Yes." Dante nodded. "He was unfortunately shot by John before I got a chance to subdue John. He died to save Daire."
"I see," the woman named Luna said. "It's a very tragic loss indeed. Bryan will be remembered for his bravery and his selfless act."
Daire felt Aleksei bristle beside him and squeezed his mate's hand reassuringly. Aleksei did not relax.
"Aleksei, please," Daire whispered.
"How can they talk about Bryan like that? They barely even know him!" Aleksei responded, his teeth clenched.
"I know it's wrong," Daire murmured. "But there's nothing we can do right now."
He turned and watched Dante argue with one of the other Council members. Suddenly, Arlen brushed past them.
"Is there a problem?" he asked.
"I have it under control," Dante answered stiffly.
Arlen snorted and crossed his arms. "It sure looks like that to me."
Dante glared at him and turned back to the Council member. "Look Vance, we could sit here and argue all day, but it's not going to happen."
"You're being unreasonable," Vance said patiently.
"I'm being unreasonable?!" Dante growled. "These kids have just witnessed their friend die. He fucking died in Daire's arms. Let them have some time to cope with this, all right?"
"You know that it's important to question them right away because stories get corrupted over time. We need the truth," Vance said coldly.
"Well then question me. I was there," Dante snapped.
"You know that is now how we do things…" Vance started.
"I don't fucking care," Dante growled. Vance looked at him in surprise. "I am not permitting you to question them."
"On whose authority?" Vance asked.
"My own," Daire answered.
"You can't do this!" Vance protested. "You may be the Chief of Police, Dante, but that does not mean you authority supersedes ours."
"I know that. But…" Dante paused.
"What?" Vance looked at Dante suspiciously. "Why do you try and protect them anyway? What do you gain by going against the Council for their sake?"
"My son." Dante swallowed. "Daire is my son."
Vance looked outraged. "How can this be?! We would have known if Daire was your son. Our records indicate…"
"Your records are incomplete," Dante said coolly. "If you remember correctly, there is no father listed for Daire. Arlen bore him at The Institute, but no one knew who the other parent was because Arlen arrived at The Institute already pregnant. I have no doubts that Daire is my son. He resembles Arlen, yes, but not completely."
"I don't believe you!" Vance's voice rose.
"Of course not," Dante muttered. He turned. "Daire, could you come here?"
Daire nodded and let go of Aleksei's hand. Aleksei watched apprehensively as his mate walked forward and stood by Dante.
There were several low gasps; when standing next to each other, it was easy to see the faint resemblance between Daire and Dante.
"He has my facial structure, my lips, and for god's sake, he even has my eyes!" Dante snapped.
Vance nodded. "You're right. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to doubt you."
"It's okay," Dante said softly.
"Why did you conceal such a thing from us?" Luna asked.
"I have my reasons," Dante answered mysteriously. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to bury my son's friend."
He pushed past the members of the Council. They did not hinder his progression of the others. Daire ignored them. Aleksei sent a glare their way. Caelyn's face was apologetic. Arlen was apathetic.
They blinked as they stepped out into the sun. A layer of snow blanketed the ground and the air was chilly. It didn't take Daire long to start shivering. Aleksei wrapped his arm around him and held him close, trying to transfer some of his body heat to his mate. Caelyn could barely suppress his own shivers. He held Rian close to his breast to try and keep him from freezing. Something warm and heavy was put on his shoulders. He looked up. It was the jacket Arlen had been wearing.
"Aren't you cold?" Caelyn asked, glancing at Arlen's bare arms.
"I'll manage," Arlen answered. "Let me hold Rian so you can put the jacket on properly."
Caelyn handed Rian over to Arlen as gently as he could and pulled the jacket on.
"He really doesn't look like you," Arlen murmured.
Caelyn looked up, surprised, but smiled sadly. "No, he doesn't. He looks like Aidan."
"He was not your mate, correct?" Arlen asked.
"No." Caelyn pushed several stray hairs out of his eyes. "I went behind Halen's back. I knew it was wrong, but I was in heat and Aidan was horny. All our reason went out the window."
"I understand," Arlen murmured. "I experienced something similar with Dante. I did not know that I was in heat and I attracted Dante to me. It did not matter that I was not supposed to give away my virginity until I was mated at The Institute. I wanted, no I needed to have sex with someone and that happened to be Dante.
"I felt so much better after I had sex with him. It happened again the next month and the month after that. The only way to stop what I was feeling was to have sex. Dante was happy to oblige. He was a young male, eager to have sex. And it did not matter that I was a man either."
"I see. Well…thank you." Caelyn's voice was incredibly soft.
Arlen simply nodded and handed Rian back to Caelyn. They hurried to catch up with Dante, Daire, and Aleksei.
Everyone watched as the coffin bearing Bryan's body was carefully lowered into the ground. Caelyn watched with a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. Rian was asleep in his arms. Arlen stood off to the side, watching apathetically. The rest of those who had lived at The Institute were present as well; the Breeders, the Bearers, the guards, and the other various staff members including all the teachers. Dante was the one who presided over the funeral.
"I did not know Bryan well at all. I only met him twice, once while sitting on the Council and once right before he died. He seemed like a very kind young man and loyal, at least from what I could tell…"
Caelyn glanced over at Daire and Aleksei. Their bodies supported each other. They probably would not have been even standing if they didn't have each other to hold onto. Daire's head was bowed and Caelyn could see his lips moving in silent prayer, tears streaming freely down his face. Aleksei was silent, his expression confused, uncomprehending of the situation he was currently in. He looked dazed, like he believed that this was all just a dream and he would wake up at any second. Caelyn laughed bitterly to himself. How he wished it was all a dream, just a nightmare that he would awaken from sweating and panting in his own bed. But it was not a dream. He had long accepted the truth of the situation even though it made him want to scream.
At long last, Dante finished the service and the crowd slowly dispersed. Daire detached himself from his mate and hurried to catch up to Dante.
"Dante wait a moment!" he called. Dante stopped and turned around. Daire approached him. "Before we part ways, there's one more thing I need to ask you."
"Oh?" Dante asked curiously.
"I want to find out where Colin's foster parents live so I can at least see my son one more time," Daire said, his voice wavering slightly.
Dante nodded in understanding. "I'll take care of it."
"Thank you," Daire whispered.
He and Dante embraced briefly.
A cloaked and hooded figure stepped through the darkness and up the front porch of one of the neatly managed houses on the street. A pale hand reached out from beneath the folds of the material and knocked softly on the front door.
There was a pause and then the oak door opened slightly. A young woman with brown hair stuck her head out. She seemed to know what the figure wanted because she vanished without a sound, leaving the front door cracked slightly.
In a few moments, she was back with a bundle in her arms. She opened the door wider, spilling more light onto the porch, although the figure's face remained concealed beneath the hood. The woman looked around before pressing the bundle into the figure's arms.
The figure spoke softly. "Thank you so much."
The woman didn't answer. The door closed. The figure went down the porch and back to the street and stepped into the light from one of the streetlamps lining the street. The same pale hand reached up and pulled the hood back, revealing the face of a young boy with cropped honey colored hair. He then reached down to the bundle and brushed the grey cotton material out of the way and looked down at the sleeping face of an infant with soft strawberry blond curls. The figure smiled and cradled the precious bundle carefully as he vanished into the still night air.
Note: Oh. My. God. It's over. It's finally over. I never thought I'd finish this. Hell, I never even thought I'd get past the first couple chapters. It's been over a year since I started working on this. It was posted on fictionpress one year, four months, and a couple days ago. Where the hell did the time go??!
Now that it's over, I'm going to do a lot of revisions, adding in some scenes and stuff. There's still a lot of work to be done, but that's just a part of the writing process. Yes, that last scene was meant to be a bit obscure. It's up to you to figure out what happened. I'm not saying a thing. Except to tell you if you're right or wrong.
I want to say a generalized thank you to all the reviewers. I never would have made it this far without your support. There are WAY too many of you to thank individually, but your reviews are SO appreciated.
And…-takes a deep breath- here is a special sneak peak of Dante's story from Dark Angel. Enjoy!
Gabriel had been working as a member of the Police Force for eight years and he had never met anyone quite like Dante Winters. The boy was only eighteen years old, fresh out of high school, and yet he was being recruited to the Police Force. He had no experience whatsoever in the field of police work, but everyone insisted that he was brilliant. He certainly did not look brilliant, Gabriel scoffed, staring the new kid down.
Dante Winters was of medium height, around 5'5 or 5'6, Gabriel guessed. He looked very underfed, but yet he was very effeminate. He had high cheekbones, a thin face, and long eyelashes, a deceptively angelic face. His eyes were a cold blue and his hair was shockingly red. Gabriel was sure he had never seen hair so red before. It was a tangled mess, hanging down to Dante's waist, filled with rats and dirt. The way Dante talked, the way he moved, it was all so feminine. He was everything Gabriel was not. Gabriel was tall and broad-chested with dark curly hair and dark brown eyes. Dante's clothes consisted of a pair of faded blue jeans, a white T-shirt with holes in several places, and holy shoes. There was dirt smudged on his face and hands.
This was his new partner.
Gabriel had no idea why he was being partnered with Dante. He was not even sure he would be able to work with Dante, but he trusted his superiors' judgment.