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the epitome of a cage

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Not all cages are made of steel bars.

Lynda was always clear about that, when they bounced from place to place as he grew, and then continued to bounce from place to place after he reached his full height, six inches short of Nicolae’s stature. There were many things that could cage you, that could hold you down as sure and strong as iron shackles.

Mortgages. Ties (which Nicolae had never once worn). Favors, if you owed too many to too many people at the same time, could imprison you as easily as a jail cell.

But more than anything, it’s people that are the worst cages of all.

&.

Letha, with her swollen belly and her soft everything, is not a cage.

Because the thing about Letha is, no matter how emphatically she denies it, she’s destined for a normal life.

(Aside from the whole impregnated by an angel thing, not to mention that she’s related to upirs and dating a werewolf, but Peter supposes that everyone has to have some kind of interesting backstory.)

As much as she likes him now, Peter has no illusions that their relationship is supposed to be a forever thing. If she were to come with him and Lynda whenever they bounce around again (which is inevitable), maybe she’d enjoy the experience at first; seeing new places, meeting dozens of new people to fuss over her blonde hair and soft, pale skin and miraculous baby.

But eventually, she would tire of it. She’d tire of having to share such cramped spaces, spending hours in the car driving over rutted back roads, stealing trinkets to sell at a flea market or stealing food for the supper table that night. She’d tire of his broken promises.

She’d miss having her own bedroom.

She’d probably miss her father.

Eventually, he’d take her back home, and she’d meet someone nice like her, someone who wears a tie to his office job and buys her expensive flowers just because, who would look past the whole immaculate conception thing.

Peter never developed the sight, but he doesn’t need Destiny's ability to know that such a future for Letha is in the cards.

He doesn’t blame her or hold it against her.

That’s just who she is.

And until that day occurs, he’s more than happy to keep her around.

After all, she’s pretty and sweet, and she likes him fiercely and wholesomely, and Peter has always liked attention.

So long as it comes from the right people.

Earning the wrong people’s attention is exactly how you end up in a cage.

&.

Roman is dangerous.

Obviously, there’s the whole upir thing, although Peter doesn’t think Roman has much of a clue exactly what constitutes, aside from his roofie eyes thing and the occasional craving he gets for blood.

(Not that Roman has ever mentioned the latter, but Peter’s heard the stories of what Roman does with girls in the bathroom stalls.)

Peter could enlighten him about what it means to be an upir, if he really wanted to. Maybe if Roman actually asked.

But it isn’t his job.

He’s already embroiled in enough Godfrey family bullshit as it is.

No, what makes Roman dangerous is that he’s the very definition of a cage.

Even though he lies flippantly, as easily as he breathes, he treats promises like they’re damn blood oaths.

Peter has always liked the ceremony of promises. The rituals associated with them. The heavy meaning assigned to the words. Whether or not he plans on keeping them at the time is irrelevant.

If he broke a promise to Letha, he’s sure that she would be upset, but she would either move past it, in time, or leave him behind.

If he broke a promise to Roman, he’s fairly sure that Roman would hunt him down to the ends of the earth or lash out and do something viciously stupid to someone else. Or maybe to himself.

That’s one need. Thus, that’s one bar.

Roman can’t tolerate being laughed at. If he’s made a joke, sure. But when he obliviously says something so ridiculously stupid, and Peter dares to laugh at him, Roman more often than not lunges for his face and hisses don’t laugh at me.

He needs people to take him seriously, unless they’re Letha or Shelley.

That’s another bar.

And they just keep coming.

His need for affection and the way he wholeheartedly denies the existence of such a need form a bar each. The fact that he seems more comfortable in their cramped trailer than his sprawling mansion is another. The fact that his mother is one of the more powerful upirs in the country is not only a bar, it’s a screaming klaxon.

One of the earliest bars to form had happened because Roman had asked can I watch? and then told him that the transformation was beautiful.

Not cool or gory or disgusting. But beautiful.

Peter should have shut the whole thing down right then and there. Should have left town that very night.

Then again, he’s pretty sure just leaving Hemlock Grove wouldn’t dissuade Roman.

Boys with that much money and a starving heart don’t often take no for an answer..

Oh look.

Two more bars.

&.

Roman is the epitome of a cage.

And that is a problem.

But the more pressing problem is that, even though the bars are all around him, even though he can feel them closing him in, even though the thing has with Letha will not survive if he allows Roman to cage him-

(not to mention the fact that he might not survive it)

-he doesn’t want to move. He’s not afraid of the cage.

And that, in itself, is two more bars.