Timelined after Timed Trust and Green Light
This flight to England was hardly a comfortable one. To say he was a prisoner was something of an overstatement – he wasn’t bound and gagged - but the intent of his hosts was obvious.
“You could have at least provided me with a passable single malt for the trip,” Sebastian said, head rolling to the side to give his current guard a malicious grin. “I do prefer the aged Highland labels, but I’m assuming asking for a 40-year Dalmore is a tad much.”
Predictably, the man, who hadn’t bothered to introduce himself, also didn’t bother to respond. Affecting an irritated sigh, Sebastian briefly badgered the man for his phone again, but soon gave up.
Turning his eyes to the window and tapping his fingers on his knee, Sebastian lost himself in thought. It would be at least another two hours before they landed, and though the ride from the private airstrip to West Wycombe would be a short one, he could trust the Lord Imperial to keep him cooling his heels for a while longer.
A summons such as this was not unheard of. The Hellfire Club’s veneer of social respectability and civility was mostly that, and he’d been called to the carpet before, most notably the night Essex went rogue.
Perhaps, Sebastian realized, he should have warned Jessica of the possibility of such… unscheduled meetings. It was entirely too late for that, and all he could hope for was a relatively brief audience with the Lord Imperial and the swift return of his phone.
He sighed and watched the clouds skim by, thumb slowly rotating his wedding band round and round his finger.
It was, in fact, nearly twelve hours before Sebastian found himself in the familiar chamber below Montpelier hill. Bound, on his knees, he was surrounded by robed, chanting figures. A wave of déjà vu washed over him, strong and sharp.
“You are bound by the law. Alligata es.”
This binding meant they needed no forms of restraint on his abilities beyond the ceremonial cords at his wrist and his own sense of duty. Sebastian kept his eyes on the ground at the Lord Imperial’s feet, half listening to the ceremony. Despite the robes, he knew the identities of every man and woman in the room - Harry Manners, Oyama Kenji, Courtney Ross and, of course, Monet.
He was a little surprised Hope wasn’t present. She likely would have enjoyed seeing him like this.
Abruptly, the chanting stopped and he shifted his weight.
“Defecisti fratribus vestris.”
This was new. You have failed your brothers. Sebastian looked up, eyes narrowed as he sought out the Lord Imperial’s face within the darkened hood.
“In what way, my Lord?”
“You, Black King, have been granted much freedom in cultivating loyalty and membership amongst your kind,” the man responded. Over the years, the term your kind had started to rankle Sebastian more and more. “While you have had a few notable successes,” he continued, nodding to a Monet, who stood just to his left, “your failures have also been many and often spectacular.”
Sebastian opened his mouth to argue until the Lord Imperial raised his hand.
“Essex, En Sabah Nur…” The smirk was clear in the man’s tone. “Need I go on?”
“Yes.” Sebastian flexed his fingers, restoring his circulation. “In fact, I believe you should go on. I wasn’t even present during the debacle with Nur, as I was dealing with a personal matter of which you are well aware. And if we’re listing failures, who was it who allowed cannibals to breed under his very roof?”
“You forget yourself, Mr. Shaw,” Manners said, interjecting his unwanted opinion.
Sebastian’s head whipped to stare at Manners. He’d always hated the man, and his ties to Edward Buckman made him a dangerous enemy, even now, years after Shaw had displaced Buckman as Black King.
“Oh yes, the cannibals.” The Lord Imperial sat down on his ornate throne and regarded Sebastian with glittering eyes. “You unilaterally authorized the removal of Donald Pierce last year, which, yes, truth be told, was doing us a favor.” His smile was cold. “Unfortunately, that was probably your last useful contribution to our cause.”
“Since that time,” he continued, “you have taken on a teaching job – of all ridiculous things - at that pet school of yours and started an unauthorized personal war with another member of our brotherhood. Ophelia Sarkissian may not be a member of the Inner Circle, but she has her uses, and you tried to kill her. Your attack on her then embroiled half of the Tokyo Inner Circle.”
“While you walked away from the chaos you created in Tokyo, it has taken time and money to repair the damage done.” Sebastian caught the bow of Oyama’s head in his peripheral vision and realized why Hope was absent from this meeting, as was Tanaka Tatsu'o. They wanted him to be alone.
“And now,” the Lord Imperial sighed, as if he was chastising a disobedient child, and Sebastian’s attention snapped back to the man’s face. “Now you’re apparently married.”
“As are you, if I recall correctly,” Sebastian flashed his own dangerous smile.
The silence in the room stretched on, finally broken by Manners’ loud guffaw. “You’ve gone native, Shaw.”
“It was risky, to allow you to remain so close to others of your kind, but it was a calculated risk I was willing to take.” He shook his head. “But, the time for this foolishness is at an end, and you will be brought to heel.”
The Lord Imperial stood, and around the circle others shuffled and snapped to attention. The chanting began anew and Sebastian swayed in place, closing his eyes to hide the roll.
“The die is cast. Alea iacta est.”
This bit if the ceremony was new to him, and he returned his attention to the dias, but the Lord Imperial remained impassive. After a long moment, he stepped down and approached Sebastian where he knelt.
The man’s fingers closed on the crown of his head, snaking through his hair. “Sit tibi terra levis, Sebastian Shaw.” The hand rested there only a moment as Sebastian made the translation. Then, it was gone.
Timelined fics featuring our current students and others.
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