The plane is delayed in London due to engine trouble. It’s frustrating to be so close yet still so far away. A short flight but a long drive. When it hits an hour of waiting in uncomfortable seats, Chris has had enough. He speaks to the flight staff, oozing charm and flashing a smile that Vic used to tell him could get him into anyone’s panties, or underwear, in five seconds when aimed appropriately. While he has no interest in the cute young blonde’s panties, he is interested in finding out how long they’re going to be waiting. After some reassurance that they’ll be flying on to Paris soon, he gently removes her hand from his chest and flashes his smile again before wandering down to the coffee stand.
It’s been too long since he’s been home. Another trip to Beacon Hills means more grey hair and less patience than usual. His dad is safely tucked away somewhere that will keep him monitored and unable to do any damage, but Chris can still feel the itch in his fingers to pull the trigger and just put a stop to that bastard’s poisonous influence on the world. There’s a part of him that feels like dealing with his father is his penance for being so damn blind and gullible. His punishment for not seeing through Kate, for not saving so many lives that didn’t deserve to be taken, for not fighting Vic when she got bit, for not keeping Allison safe. Everything he touches turns to shit, and maybe his father will suffer from Chris’ curse someday soon.
By the time the plane boards, he’s finished his coffee and has worked himself into a mood. It takes less time to fly to Paris than he spent waiting around Heathrow, and he takes a cab to the parking garage where he left his car for the last few months. It’s been so long that there’s a film of dust on the dashboard. Too long, really. Chris rubs his hand down his face, sighing as he smells the staleness in the air and wonders for the lord only knows how manyth time if he’s doing the right thing even coming back to France.
Hell, he already knows the answer to that. Of course he’s not. He hasn’t been smart in nearly forty years, so why start now? If he were any kind of decent man, he’d drive the opposite direction and keep going. Chris has never really played at being decent, though. A good husband, yes. Best father possible, yes. Loyal son, sure. But none of those things required him to be decent. Instead of driving away from temptation, he aims the car right for it and floors the accelerator.
It’s nearly three in the morning when he pulls up in front of the ramshackle cottage that’s been in the Argent family for centuries. The property has definitely seen better days, but he’s working on improving it when he isn’t being summoned back to Beacon Hills to fulfill the obligation he owes to his daughter. He can see that the shutters have a fresh coat of paint on them, the broken window pane in the kitchen window is fixed, and there’s a welcome mat outside. Such an American thing to do, really, that it makes his lips curl up into a slight smile. He already feels better, and that scares him. Just a little bit.
Chris turns off the headlights then cuts the engine, tucking the keys into his pocket when he slides out of the car. After grabbing his duffle bag from the backseat, he goes to the door. Before he can even unlock it, it swings up. Isaac has his arms crossed in front of his chest, defensive and vulnerable, and it fucking breaks Chris’ heart that he’s the one who caused it this time. It’s just easier not to stay in touch when he’s cleaning up shit in Beacon Hills or dealing with his psycho father. It keeps him focused without the distraction of what he’s missing getting in the way.
“Guess you’re still alive then,” Isaac says, lips pursed and tension so tight that Chris is surprised he’s not cracking from it.
“Yep.” Chris arches a brow. “Your little friends made it out alive, this time. Your new alpha’s not as dumb as he used to be, but they’ve all got some growing up to do.”
“Derek’s my alpha,” Isaac mutters, just trying to be difficult. “With or without the power, he’s the one who turned me. He okay?”
“Not around anymore. Clever boy took off finally, got away from that wretched town,” Chris tells him. “Hope it doesn’t drag him back in like it seems to keep doing to me.”
“That’s because you let it, Chris,” Isaac points out. “You could tell Scott no next time he calls or texts for help. Allison wouldn’t want you constantly risking your life for them, no matter what you want to believe.”
“She made me promise to watch out for McCall and Stilinski and to keep them safe. So long as I’ve got the use of my legs and my brain, I’ll be keeping my promise to her, kid,” he snaps, not needing this child telling him what Allison would or wouldn’t want. He pushes past Isaac to enter the house, dropping his bag on the floor as he stares at the fire warming the room. The door closes behind him, and he can heard Isaac breathing off to his right. “It’s been a long day, and I didn’t mean to snap. Sorry.”
“Empty apologies,” Isaac murmurs. “I know you’re not, so don’t waste them on me. If I wanted lies, I wouldn’t still be here waiting for you to come home.”
“I saw the shutters. Paint looks nice.” Chris turns his head to look at Isaac, and he sighs. “I’d have rather been here with you.”
“I know.” Isaac bites his lip and shifts his weight from one foot to the other, trying to look smaller than he actually is. “You should have called. Or at least texted. I didn’t know if you were even alive.”
“You’re a distraction,” he says simply, pivoting on his heel so he’s facing Isaac. “I can’t think about you when I’m out there getting shit done, kid. I’ve told you that before.”
“Doesn’t mean I have to like it,” Isaac says, dragging his fingers through his curly hair as he finally stops covering his chest with his arms. “Back for a while?”
“God, I hope so,” he admits, feeling some of the tension dropping from his shoulders as he steps closer to Isaac, watching his face. “You been okay? Staying busy?”
Isaac comes into his arms before Chris can even open them all the way. Despite being four inches taller, Isaac leans in and somehow manages to make Chris feel like he’s the bigger of the two. He holds Isaac tight, breathing in the scent of strawberry shampoo and caramel candies the woman down the lane is always giving his boy. Isaac is scenting him, wrapping all around him and nuzzling his neck. “Don’t stay gone this long again,” Isaac whispers, his lips brushing against Chris’ jaw. “It was lonely, even with the classes I’m taking and the neighbors constantly bringing food to me. I miss you when you aren’t here. This place is too quiet without you.”
“I’ll try my best,” Chris promises, knowing that’s the only thing he can say that he might not break. He moves his fingers into Isaac’s hair, pulling his head back and staring at that pretty face. “I’m still no good for you, kid.”
“I’m still not listening,” Isaac murmurs before leaning down to kiss him.
Chris opens his mouth, needing this connection and taking it because it’s the only thing in his life right now that makes him feel less broken, makes him feel alive. As Isaac licks into his mouth, Chris rubs his thumb along Isaac’s jaw, deepening the kiss and seeking solace as Isaac offers it. A good man would step away, would remember the age difference, would never take advantage of this angelic boy who seems to see something in Chris worth hanging around, would be strong enough to walk away.
Chris isn’t a good man. Here in this old cottage with Isaac, though, he likes to thinks he’s becoming a better man.