He’d said it quite casually, ‘I have a present for you two,’ sharing the details of his upcoming flight next, only to efficiently hang up the phone. Sookie wasn’t quite sure what type of present would require Dermot to fly into Sweden personally, Fintan tagging along without much of a clue either, not that that was new.
Sookie was still guessing when she’d relayed the cryptic message to Eric who had been painting the room that was once the very pink ‘cave’ a more neutral colour, mostly to shut up Adonia and her speculations of blonde great-grandchildren when she recently discovered the wonders of Skype, thanks to Pam, but also to ready the apartment for sale. Brandon had proved highly capable in his job, and with their insider’s knowledge thanks to Pam, knew exactly how and when to anticipate Claudine’s sabotaging ways before they could cause any substantial damage.
The little ‘chat’ between the twins and Cataliades proved equally fruitful, Dermot cleverly using his influence on the lawyer to operate as their pawn whether he wanted to or not, unravelling most of Rogan’s plans without him ever being aware of it. Fintan was still fuming about the entire conversation months later and if it hadn’t been for his surprisingly calm brother by his side, would probably have bludgeoned the man he’d considered his confidant, ally, and closest friend for decades to death.
Dermot had never come across anyone so actively fighting his influence as he revealed the sordid facts of his past. The compromised situation he’d cornered himself into, starting innocently enough by small monetary payments by Fintan’s friendly uncle, Rogan, who wanted to assure his nephew remained sound of mind. Soon Rogan became the most important facilitator of his career, where no one would hire anyone with the last name of Cataliades, no matter how well he performed or excelled in the top law school of the country. The recommendation of a Brigant, however, changed everything in that regard and he soon found him indebted and entangled in Rogan’s carefully spun web, not quite sure how to untangle himself, endearing himself with the type of criminal clientele that he knew would protect him when necessary, if only to ensure their secret dealings were never revealed. Rogan, however, had managed to sink his claws in deep and in places he would never have guessed, and his influence went farther than Cataliades had ever anticipated.
As much as he fought for his independence and carved out his own niche, he remained indebted, going so far as to set up the contact when asked for a reliable assassin upon the discovery that Fintan was very much alive and breeding at that. Cataliades had the decency to cryptically warn his friend something was happening, only to hear Sookie’s parents were already dead.
Cataliades had been surprised to find Rogan in his office in the dead of night, his safe, un-openable by anyone but Cataliades, wide open and pouring over the most secret of his documents, including those that hid Fintan’s shares in the trust with Halina, demanding to hand it all over to him while at great conflict with Niall over the direction of the company, a fight that heated and cooled in a continuous pendulum.
No matter how creative the lawyer could be, this was simply something he could not deliver to Rogan, feebly he had attempted to direct his anger elsewhere as he threatened to ruin him and everyone he held dear. Desmond hinted that there was more to Halina and Fintan’s platonic relationship, hoping to buy some time, but finding it had gone before he managed to figure a way out of the predicament. He did his best to protect the woman from afar, never considering that the attack would be directed elsewhere.
Fintan had left the room fuming when his ‘friend’ had revealed that particular fact, and he was still undecided whether or not to burden Eric with the newly gained knowledge or not. He liked his grandson-in-law immensely and what he meant to Sookie, but he knew how troubled his past was and how it could trip him up in the present. Not to mention how unsettled and filled with rage it had left him with the knowledge that in everyone’s interest they had to wait out their uncle’s manoeuvring ways in the weeks to come. Rogan’s manipulating hands turned out to be rather lame, quite literally along with the rest of his body, when he suffered from a stroke not much later, leaving him incapable of communicating on extended life support, forcing the decision out of Fintan’s hands and deflating him in the process.
Unbeknownst to his brother, Dermot, always more observant than outspoken, had contacted Talbot. Pam had let it ‘slip’ that her father had ‘wicked mad skills’ in offing someone with poisons without any hint of detection. Dermot was, frankly, rather sick of all the waiting and had never been all that fond of his uncle anyhow, especially after discovering from Niall’s journals that it was that very uncle that had manipulated Niall into marrying his abusive stepmother. It was clear to him that the man survived on exploiting the weaknesses of others and felt Rogan needed to experience some of his own, death would be far too kind for the likes of him. Pam proved to be worth her weight in gold by hand delivering a file of pictures that proved he was anything but husband of the year to his devoted wife a week or so before his ‘sudden’ stroke, prompting their divorce.
Dermot really shouldn’t have been surprised to see his stepmother among the many women in that file, but he was, though it probably had more to do with the sighting of her again more than anything else. He had never paid much attention to all the shares and majorities at stake, but in the aftermath he’d gambled quite fortuitously, Claudine and Eamon had left everything in the capable hands of a suddenly incapable Rogan and with Brandon’s improvements only strengthening the company, they suddenly found themselves scrambling desperately trying to undo the damage to their stock portfolios, alerting their suspicious activity to the financial authorities, weakening the Coleman & Coleman company substantially in the process with their arrests aided by Pam’s recording of her conversation with Eamon.
Dermot was almost done, which was a good because they certainly weren’t getting any younger and it had lasted all too long already. Sweden would tie up one of the last loose ends. After that it would simply be another call to Talbot, who’d probably have to up the dosage, and therefore cost, to get that rotund frame down indefinitely, but Dermot decided it was definitely worth it. Fintan would forgive him, eventually. He smiled and waved to an eager Sookie in the arrivals hall, cheeks rosy from just entering in from the cold. She still looked out of place in Sweden, but quite at home next to Eric.
“To the hotel?” Eric asked as Sookie’s apology concluded that their new home wasn’t quite ready yet and the current apartment too small to house them all comfortably.
“If you don’t mind,” Dermot interrupted his brother who had already started to agree, “Could you take us to Halina?”
“Halina?” Fintan questioned curiously.
Dermot shrugged, “I’d like to see her again, and one mustn’t waste time while we have it.”
With no further objections and only a concerned frown from his brother over the other’s health, they arrived at the retirement home. Making everyone all the more curious, Dermot requested a moment alone, leaving the other three waiting in the hallway impatiently, though he didn’t take long. He’d made a promise to the woman once and he intended to keep it now, lifting the cloud of imposed confusion from her mind, mimicking the effects of dementia and effectively locking her out of reality, and forgetting the terrible assault on her family until her lost grandson was found again, safe and sound. Life wasn’t worth living for Halina at the time otherwise, so in her grief he’d agreed, hopeful this day would come, no matter how long it would take, happy that for once his influence could spare someone pain instead of only inflicting harm. The door opened, Halina’s eyes instantly locking onto the boy who had grown ever so tall, but there was no mistake or hesitation in her voice when she spoke, “Erik?”
-(Really) The End-
A/N: Yep that’s really it. I hope you all enjoyed the ending of the end, and it really is the end. You know I always love hearing your thoughts below!
Much thanks to msbuffy, not only for this chapter but the work she put into the entire story.