“Stay away from them Guy,” said Bartholomew. “They did things to you. They made an experiment of their own son, tried to force you into a life of killing that you didn’t want. I know they’re your parents, but they haven’t made you who you are. You’re not them. You’ve fought hard for that.”

Guy heard what his professor was saying, but he also saw his mom’s deep blue eyes wide with something akin to compassion, her thick blonde braid resting over her shoulder, becoming more and more shot through with grey. He remembered the smell of that braid, no matter where they went it always ensured she carried the smooth and crisp scent of the pines behind their house with her. She’d done her hair that way for as long as he could remember, he remembered it tickling his nose when he was little and she’d held him in her arms.

His father was as stoic as ever, grey hair seeming slicked back though Guy had never seen him put an ounce of product in it. He didn’t seem to have the same compassion in his eyes as his mother did. But, the way his mouth, usually so firm, like a tight crack in a cliff-face, it softened. Guy had also never seen his father soften to anything.

“Guysborough,” said his mother faintly.

And that was all he needed to hear.

He stepped forward. Bartholomew thrust his hand out, Guys chest running into it, stopping.

“Guy, don’t. They would have ruined you they- you were so brave to leave them. It made you better. They… they don’t deserve you.” Guy couldn’t help but notice the flicker of pain that had crept into the older man’s voice, but there was something more powerful tugging at him now.

He knew everything Bartholomew was saying was true. If he’d stayed with his parents two years ago, he would have been a murderer in his own eyes. He knew his parents were still like that, still members of The Hunt.

But the fact that they were here, that they looked like they had any care about him at all… it was too much. It overrode everything he’d learned, everything that had taught him they were the enemy. He only saw his parents, the people he’d wanted not to disappoint, who he’d wanted to accept him all his life. He saw his parents, and he knew he still loved them.

Guy turned his head to look up at Bartholomew, his mentor’s face cloudy and unstable through the haze of tears in his eyes.

“I don’t care,” said Guy.

Bartholomew’s eyes widened, and his mouth opened as if to speak. Instead, the man’s eyes closed, fighting himself, until finally his hand fell away.

And Guy ran into his mother’s arms, while Bartholomew looked to the ground, shoulders hunched, before turning and walking away.


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