Love Me Ch. 7
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Summary: Answering A LOT of the questions about why what happened on the night that Erik left. Not much on what’s happening with Erik and Y/N joining forward
Pairing: Erik Stevens x Black!Reader
Warnings: ANGST, slight torture, swearing
A/N: Hey guys long time no see lol but here is the long awaited continuation of the story. Thank you to everyone who has supported this story throughout! I hope you enjoy it
Holding you in his arms had always been one of the greatest feelings in the world to Erik, a close second to burying himself deep inside of your body. Touch had always been the strongest love language in your relationship, in part because Erik was used to talking around his emotions that he rarely knew how to put what he was feeling into words.
He held you tight through the night and didn’t sleep once, he was sure that if he did he would wake up and realize that you being there was just another dream. He’d lost track of the number of times he’d dreamed that you were lying there beside him. The night he left, he had almost run back as soon as he was out the door, but he couldn’t do it, not until you were safe.
You still weren’t though and he knew it, there were so many loose ends left to tie up but he couldn’t stand to be apart from you any longer. He had thought about running again but he knew that this was an opportunity he wouldn’t get a chance to repeat if he fucked it up this time.
-Three months ago-
“Damn it!” Erik roared as he slammed his car door shut, Y/N was pregnant, he was putting her in danger he was putting their baby in danger too. He had planned to stop, to leave this life behind, or at least tell her before things got too far. Before he got in too deep.
But being with Y/N was too good to jeopardize and every day he was sinking deeper and deeper in love with her and now, he’d gone too far. He’d messed up and gotten sloppy.
She always knew something was up and for the most part he was able to keep that side of his life hidden from her, if she knew the truth he doubted that she would stay, so he kept up the lie - well not a lie but not the full truth either.
This was the closest she had come to seeing this side of his life and the way she reacted told him everything he needed. He’d been selfish and reckless and he loved her too much to put her in danger, he had to disappear for her safety and their baby’s. It would kill him to be away from her to miss this part of her life but he knew that this was punishment for grasping at what he was never meant to have, a normal life.
No family. No attachment. That was how things were supposed to be, that was how it had always been before her. But she was the family he’d been missing his whole life. He had been determined to make it work with her if it was the last thing he did. But now he was five years in and there was a baby on the way.
Erik had been driving around aimlessly when he found himself in a familiar neighborhood, his childhood home was right up the street, looming tall over the basketball courts he’d spent countless nights playing on until it was time to go in for dinner. He let his mind wander to thoughts of Y/N cooking for their little family, the image of her as a mother was always a thought that had made his heart swell and ache with equal measure
He wasn’t proud of himself but he did the math to see if there was any chance to end the pregnancy. But the thought of that made him sick. The thought of anything happening to either of them made his stomach turn violently. He had to pull over to the side of the road, his door was barely open before he was emptying his stomach onto the pavement.
When he finally pulled himself together he just sat for a moment. The radio was playing dully in the background as he let his mind swim. Was he really about to do this? The next few hours would change his life, and hers forever. When he looked at the time, 3:15, he let himself and his thoughts linger for a moment.
A dangerous moment. If he went back now he could still slip back in without Y/N being any wiser. He could figure something out, he knew he would die to protect her. She knew it too but his rational mind had to speak up to stop him from making a terrible mistake. What would happen to them if he did die, he felt all of Y/N’s feards and immediately hated himself for putting her through that.
He knew the damage had been done when he pulled up to her apartment after a job gone bad. They had been separated for a bit because Erik was still moving back and forth and Y/N had needed her space after her dad passed, things were supposed to be getting better, they were working things out and now he had put the nail in the coffin of their relationship.
Before he could spiral further down the rabbit hole of his thoughts his phone buzzed with a familiar number.
“Hey checking to make sure you’re not some John Doe lying in the morgue somewhere,” The smooth female voice said on the other end of the line.
“I’m fine,” Erik told her, trying to control his voice, vulnerability was as lethal as any gunshot in his line of work and he couldn’t afford it even with his closest confidants. The only person he’d allowed himself to be vulnerable with had been Y/N and look where that had gotten him.
“Okay so now that all of that is out of the way,” she paused, taking a measured breath. “What in the hell were you thinking! You could’ve gotten yourself killed and you almost compromised the mission. You can’t be reckless like that Stevens! What we do is too damn dangerous and I can’t afford to break someone else in if you croak because you’re out here taking stupid risks that don’t need to be taken.” She said loudly, her anger was evident but buried beneath it was something else, maybe concern though she'd never admit to it.
“Are you done, Roberts?” Erik asked, frankly he’d been yelled at enough for one night and if he could avoid it anymore he would.
“Not even close,” she scoffed even though she did move on from the topic. “Where are you right now? The client wants a debrief and I’m not hanging my ass on the line to explain to him that you compromised his mission.”
“At this hour?” He groaned, throwing his head back against the headrest of his seat.
“Yes I mean unless you have something else that’s more important that requires your attention?”
Erik hesitated, every fiber of his being was begging him to go back to Y/N right now and fix this. Apologize for scaring her. Promise her that he would change. Anything to fix this so he could stay.
“No. I’m on my way.” He said ending the call and driving off. As he drove down the road and out of the city to the rich neighborhoods beyond where his client was living in a mansion in the California hills. Every mile he put behind him was another mile he was putting between himself and Y/N.
But that’s the way it had to be, if the people he worked with had any idea that she even existed then she would be in immediate danger, especially after tonight. If they found out about the baby they’d kill it just to make a point, they didn’t tolerate mistakes and Erik never makes them, until now.
Erik was painfully aware of that fact when he pulled down the long winding drive. He noticed that Roberts’s car was also there along with one he didn’t recognize. It made him uneasy and that was a feeling that Erik was feeling all too much today.
When he entered the house it was quiet for the most part he could hear voices floating through the hall so he followed them. Something in him told him to turn back and go find Y/N, he pushed it down again and again. If he went back, if he put her in danger that would be the most selfish thing he’d ever do and he would do it a thousand times if he could ensure her safety but he couldn’t not right now. Not after tonight.
If he ever wanted to go back to her he would need to handle this right now.
“Stevens! How's it hanging big guy!” Said a booming voice as he stepped into the low lit living room. The expansive space had huge floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the expansive forest that stretched out beyond the expansive backyard. Erik didn’t miss the plastic wrap spread out on the patio with a chair in the middle of it.
Three people were gathered around the large fireplace that sat opposite the large windows. Erik recognized Roberts, still in her black tack gear, she’d shed her jacket wearing only her white beater and dog chains on her torso no - she was keeping her head down and wouldn’t look him in the eye. He crossed the room to join her on the long white leather couch but stopped short when one of the other men spoke up.
“Don’t sit down, this won’t take long.” Said the client, a greying man dressed in a sharp suit despite the late hour of the night. The way he said it sent a chill down Erik’s spine — they were going to kill him.
His jaw ticked ever so slightly as his eyes scanned to the final man in the room — he hadn’t said anything, nor did he even acknowledge that Erik had stepped into the room. Even though he was reclined back into a white leather chair to match the two couches, Erik could tell he was a big man, maybe even bigger then Erik himself was.
The third man sat pensively swirling the ice in his glass of dark liquor and staring into the fire crackling away in the fireplace. He had a strong jaw and a shaved head, he too was wearing an equally sharp suit though he was styled more casually than the older man — his top buttons were undone revealing his heavy gold chain and a white beater.
“If that’s the case we don’t need to drag this shit out. If you’re about it, be about it.” Erik snapped, flicking his eyes back to the older white man. Erik didn’t know his name, he never needed to, all he needed was for the transactions of the money to go through. Erik figured the man was a crooked politician considering the money he was willing to pay out and the targets that he would give Erik and Roberts every now and then.
“I know you don’t know me but I believe that everyone has a right to a fair trial.” He said standing and buttoning his jacket. “Don’t you agree, darling?” The client said flicking his eyes from Erik to where Roberts was sitting on the couch.
She kept her head down still refusing to look Erik in the eye.
“Darling, huh? Figures. So what, are you her daddy or her Daddy?” Erik sneered a look of disgust settling over his features as he looked at Roberts.
“Erik!” Roberts shouted standing from the couch. Her eyes were glassy in the low light.
“No sit down, dear,” The client said, Erik scoffed when she listened rolling his eyes. He couldn’t believe her, this was messier than he had anticipated.
Everything in his body was yelling at him to run. He couldn’t though, the cold realization froze him in place, its icy embrace doing little to soothe his nerves that were already on edge. He heard the ice clink loudly in the silent man’s glass beyond the roaring of the blood racing through his ears.
“I don’t appreciate you talking about my daughter like that. Ivan!” He called out, the large man immediately moved and crossed the room quickly getting up in Erik’s face, the client side stepped to let him take the few short steps to sit on the arm of the white leather couch. Erik didn’t stand down, Ivan looked impressed.
But all trace of it melted as quickly as it had appeared, his left fist flew across Eriks jaw, sending him down to his knee. Erik spat out blood onto the white carpet — it looked expensive, part of him hoped it was. The thought that it looked like one of the throw blankets in Y/N’s living room tickled the back of his mind as his thoughts swam from the force of the blow.
The next series of blows, a combination of a knee to his jaw and then a rather large foot sending him reeling back onto the marble floor, dazed Erik even further. The world felt so far away that he could barely hear the commotion of it all over the ringing in his ears.
“Hey, hey, take it outside will you? Your sister set that shit up for a reason!” The client roared at Ivan. Erik felt dizzy as he felt Ivan take a firm hold of his dreads and pull him towards the large windows looking out over the backyard. Erik roared and twisted disoriented and was still trying to fight against the bigger man.
The cool night air gave Erik a moment of piercing clarity. He looked out over the backyard and again a faint memory of Y/N playing with kids in a backyard at one of her family bbqs. If things had been different Erik thinks that he would have bought her a big house with a backyard just like this one. Distantly he can feel his arms and legs being restrained with duct tape and then subsequent blows landing to his torso and face.
Despite the pain he could see this vision so vividly, was this what dying was like? Was this the peace people talked about finding in death? Erik couldn’t deny the thought of Y/N with their child filled him with warmth and comfort. If only he believed he was the type of person who would be fortunate enough to find peace in death. Erik was almost certain if there was a hell that is where he was headed — more than likely his brain was giving him these memories to help him process the trauma that his body was enduring.
“Take it easy on the face we still need to know what happened?” Erik heard the client’s voice echo in his ears. “Oh I bet you can take quite the beating can’t you champ?” He condescends. It was true but the way the client seemed to delight in the prospects of Erik’s pain tolerance.
“Go to hell.” Erik wheezed letting his head lull to the side.
“I will probably, but not before I send you there first.” He said gripping Erik’s slack jaw and squeezing despite Erik’s squirming from the pain. “What happened out there?”
“The job got done.” Was all Erik said quietly, he heard the client and Ivan scoff at his answer.
“The job was to kill one man. You risked the job and my baby girl's life in the process. Now part of the reason I’m being so nice to you right now is because of your track record with us. Do you know why I always request you for my jobs — you don’t mess up. So I’m going to ask again what the hell happened out there Stevens?” He shouted in Erik’s face, he flinched from the sudden loud noise before deflating into the support of the chair when the client stepped away.
Ivan stepped in front of Erik again delivering more hard blows to his face and torso. Erik took them all silently, a hard grimace every now and again the only indication that he was in any pain at all.
“The job got done.” Erik repeated again in the same flat tone. Erik could tell that his lack of responsiveness was starting to strike a nerve with the client. It gave him a sick sense of joy, if he was going to die at least he wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of watching them break.
“Erik that was more than just getting the job done, you beat that guy to death with your bare hands.” He heard Roberts say suddenly appearing out of thin air, when had she joined them on the patio? “Please just tell them.” She begs.
“Maybe he still needs some loosening up,” Erik heard Ivan say, before he had time to process the words a deafening gunshot sounded next to his ear. Erik didn’t have the energy to fully react, that is until the burning barrel of the gun was pressed hard against Erik’s chest, faintly he could hear his skin burn under the metal.
“The job got done.” Was all he said still.
“Who’s Y/N?” Roberts asked scrolling through Erik’s phone, when had she taken that from his pocket? For the first time Erik let a look of terror settle across his features. By the time he was able to reign in his emotions it was too late he’d given away too much already.
“Some girl I hit up to take the edge off.” Erik sighed hoping they’d buy it.
“See I wanna believe that,” Roberts said crouching down in front of Erik showing him his phone. The image on the bright screen made him wince, it was one he’d taken of Y/N while she was asleep lying against his chest. “But that doesn’t look like taking the edge off to me now does it?”
Erik lunged at her then he felt the barrel of Ivan’s gun press to the back of his head, slowly he sank back into his chair there was a sick smirk on Robert’s face, it matched the client’s from earlier. Erik was kicking himself for not seeing it earlier.
“Maybe we’ll pay her a visit, she’s a looker ain’t she Ivan.” The client sneered, right now Erik felt like he might be sick.
“Is she why you left?” Robert’s asked. “I tried to figure it out why you would just up and vanish. Oh Erik have you been breaking rule number one?” She condescends, rule number one; no attachments, attachments make you vulnerable. Just like Erik now was.
The longer this scene passes on the more Erik could see the resemblance between the woman he thought would have his back and their crooked client. He supposed the apple didn’t fall far from it’s poison tree.
“You know what I think?” Robert’s mused circling Erik’s chair. “I think we’re not the only ones who know about your special little friend. She’ll be dead by morning,” she stated simply, handing the phone to Ivan. “Backtrack his location. He was there tonight. Kill her, burn down the place and make it look like an accident.” She ordered and Ivan nodded before going back through the house.
A renewed energy took over Erik and he blacked out from the rage that was coursing through his veins. He had put Y/N in danger and she was closer to it than he could’ve ever known. Erik guessed he had been sloppier than he’d thought and now because of him she and his baby would be dead by morning.
His baby. An unfamiliar feeling settled in Erik’s chest, a primal need to protect his own. He wasn’t sure exactly how it all happened, the major details were a blur. But with Ivan gone and even in Erik’s bruised and battered state he broke free of his restraints retrieving his emergency gun he kept hidden on him at all time. Two quick shots dispatched both the client and Roberts, then taking her advice he set the house ablaze to make it look like an accident.
Erik would spend the rest of the night hunting down Ivan until he killed him too. The sun was already painting the sky in pinks and blues when he dumped Ivan’s weighted body off of the pier.
Erik knew he couldn’t stay, he had to make sure that Y/N was safe even if it meant he couldn't be with you. So instead of heading back into the city he navigated his car towards the airport. He still owned the condo the two of you had shared in New York and he had some contacts there that could help him find out just how many people knew about Y/N. He’d kill every single one of them if they meant to do you harm, he was willing to go to hell and back to make sure that you were safe again.
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Anyone who’s lived in the town long enough remembers a woman named Valerie. She was a small little thing, straw coloured hair pulled tight in a bun, a straw hat with hand sewn bows and flowers decorating it, and modest dresses with charming flowery designs.
She took ownership of a small building and set up a fish mongers operation. Without ice it was only ever open for a few hours at the crack of dawn before the heat beat down, but there was always enough fish for people that were buying. And that was her secret she never shared- how such a tiny scrap of a person could catch so much fish by herself. She had no family, no partner, nothing.
Then one day she opened shop with her daughter. She was only 6, but already a good 5ft tall- strong and hearty. She had thick, wiry hair pulled into tight plaits, wore a frock that would be a size too big one week then a size too small the next, with a scarf wrapped up to her face. Valerie introduced her daughter as Pisca.
Pisca was a good kid, delighted to talk to anyone who came to buy. She also had the strength of an ox, more than once lifting massive loads of fish where groups of men struggled. She loved to show off her pretty dressed mama sewed, was always excited to talk, and was forever being yelled after by her mother to stay close and keep your scarf on.
This arrangement continued for 14 years, day in day out. They’d come to town with fish, sell out by 10am, then either leave or, if Valerie needed to shop, give Pisca time to run about and socialise. By now the young woman was at least 8 ft tall- it was obvious she wasn’t entirely human, but the topic never came up and was never mentioned. Valerie had always been incredibly private, for all she was friendly, and it was understood that if she didn’t want a subject spoken about, then it was not spoken about.
The one day there was no fish. None the next either. No Valerie, no Pisca. The shop doors stayed closed for a month.
When the shop opened, there was only Pisca. Her colourful dress had dulled, her hair pulled into plaits that were now a little less neat, her cheery expression sullen.
“My mother is very sick. I have to provide so we may find medicine or a cure.”
It’s been 10 years, and the town lost a little bit of light. The shop still opens early every day, still with fish to sell- but the joy the little mongers brought died. Pisca, now 31, is a quiet, dark person, who hardly says a word. She still wears her scarf- no matter the heat, covering the lower half of her face. Sometimes she buys strange things- sometimes she asks strange questions
“have the new men spoken of mutterings in the mines?”
“what time of day are the vultures now flying?”
“Who last saw the dandelions?”
There’s a few people she’ll speak to. Her mothers’ friend the barkeep at the Two Horn Inn, or the local cryptid elf- though those meetings are scarce seen.
Should you follow her out of town (and believe me, she’s hard to follow) You’d find her not returning to a home, but to the lake. There, she removed the once vibrant dress, folds int carefully and hands it tenderly in an old, low tree alongside many other articles of clothing- some her size, some the size of a petite woman, before diving below the waters.
You will not see her resurface until the next day.
And if you were stupid enough to get close enough to look, then you’d watch this huge woman transform into a bull shark. One who swims down, down, down to the bottom of the lake, then disappears through a cave entrance.
Anyone with the power to breathe underwater and a serious death wish would see inside, the lost woman named Valerie. She’s alive, but very much sick, and encased in an enchanted air bubble. Blue skin lines her lips, a dark colour pulsing in her veins. She is always asleep. Once in the bubble, Pisca is once again human- and without her scarf you see her rows and rows of shark teeth. She tries mixing elixirs, potions, anything- but nothing seems to be working.
When the bubble begins to shrink, a tentacle as long as a train carriage emerges from the lightless depth and replenishes it.
If you were close enough to see all of this, you’d never see who that colossal tentacle belongs to. Because if Pisca hasn’t killed you by now, then her second mother has.
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