Walls Part Four

For those of you, like me, who have completely forgotten what happened in this (like I did), you can find the last little section of this serial-thing here.

“Aleks!” Tom shouted as he watched his friend walk out of the flat. He put a hand to his head and sighed — he’d really messed this up. And now he was going to have to do something drastic, like tie Aleks up in the hope that he’d have more difficulty escaping or hurting himself.

He followed his friend out of the flat and onto the stairs that would take him down and out into the real world. Aleks was stood on the first step down, his hands trembling.

“Just come back inside, Al. It’s not safe for you out here.”

“Nowhere’s safe,” he said, his voice constricted. “That stupid little bedsit isn’t any less dangerous than outside — I can still get hurt from in there. I can still be betrayed.

“But you’re a lot less likely to be killed,” Tom pointed out drily. “So why don’t we go back inside? I can leave, if that’s what you want. I’ll go stay with Tam, and just come here to bring you shopping and the like.” That was never going to happen; he couldn’t trust Aleks when he was in this condition. But somehow, the lies just kept building up. “If you’d prefer, I can try and find you a bigger flat.”

He shook his head. “Why can’t it be me that leaves, for once? Why can’t it be me that has control over where they are and who they see and who sees them?” His hands curled into fists.

Tom sighed. “You know why. When the Revolution–”

He snorted. “The revolution? You really think that’s actually going to happen? They burned him at the stake and no one gave a shit, Tom. Do you think some puny little group of do-gooders can really fight that? No, they can’t. It’s just going to end with all of us dead — so I might as well speed the process up a bit.” He stepped onto the second step.

“No, Aleks. Tam can do this. And you know why? Because she has you as her martyr. Her people make up nearly twenty per cent of the Fey population. And it’s all because of you — because we all remember what it was to be human, and to have that stolen away. We know that we need to care for the newly turned, not punish them for breaking rules that are still foreign to them.” Tom took a small step forward, careful not to do anything that might spook Aleks into running. He could have just grabbed the kid — he was strong enough — but he’d learnt from experience that if Aleks didn’t work out his problems now, he’d work them out at another time, most likely when he wasn’t there to help.

“Martyrs tend to be dead, Tom. And I wasn’t the one who came out worst, was I? Why isn’t he the martyr?”

Tom rolled his eyes at his own idiocy. Why didn’t he see this one coming? “Let’s just talk about it inside, okay?”

Aleks turned round, his eyes burning and his face red. “No. Why isn’t Rath the martyr, Tom? Tell me.”

“You know he and Tam had a bit of a rocky relationship, Al. She just found it easier to remember you than him.”

He shook his head. “No. No, that’s not it. You’re lying again. Why, Tom?”

This was going to go badly. He stepped forward, his hands placating but ready to grab Aleks when he bolted. “No one liked him, okay? That’s it. They weren’t going to rally around someone they were pretty glad was dead.”

“No! You’re lying!”

“Aleksandr –” Tom began, but Aleks had already grabbed his hands and was pulling him forward.

“You’re lying,” he whispered, letting go of Tom’s hands just as he was stepping forwards to regain his balance. He lost his equilibrium and fell down the stairs.


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