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More beast than man

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More beast than man

All families are weird in their own way; they have their own dark secrets that they keep to themselves. Most secrets were very vanilla, it was things like an affair or a love child or just an illicit relationship. Most family secrets were about relationships or sex, things that after time no longer held any power and if they came out it might just piss some people off. For the Dingles it was different, their secret was so dark that they built a whole town to hide it from the world.

It all started with Abraham Dingle who had always been the black sheep of the family and became the founding member of their dark secret. Before him the family wasn’t too clean, they had the reputation for being troublemakers and thugs but Abe was smart and ambitious. He began to get into the hard stuff, human trafficking, forgery and loaning. He helped people migrate to America for a fee; it went so well that he began recruiting people to work for him.

He was ruthless and cold even to his own people; soon everyone was terrified of the Dingle name. Abe Dingle created an empire that his children continued and grew. Abraham brought infamy to the Dingles which his sons continued. He had six sons who all had their own area of focus; Ebenezer was all muscled yet he had the finesse of a high class thief, Jacob was all brain so he made sure everything seemed legal, Benidiah was charming and took care of the human trafficking, Isaac took care of forgery, Jonah was the loan shark, while Jedediah took care of petty crimes.

Over the years the family ‘business’ grew so much that it began to draw the attention of the police and politicians who wanted in or wanted them caught but everyone had a price. The brothers created Emmerdale, a small village up north away from their main hubs that was meant to be a hideout and secret headquarters but soon became real as normal people began set root. The Dingles Empire continued to grow yet it was never completely apparent to others although everyone in the village soon knew that the family was dangerous.

Over the years the knowledge became deluded and the Dingles were just another old family in the village with no association to the Dingle crime family. Most believed that the Emmerdale Dingles weren’t smart enough to start let alone run a mafia, they were more the bar fight, incest committing kind of Dingles. So the family continued their work, operating freely under the radar while everyone else remained blissfully ignored.

The mantel of head of the Dingle family and mafia was passed down to the eldest child of the eldest child. In the newer generation Chastity had taken over for her father with the help of her cousin Cain as her second who balanced her out. Chas was charming and smart while Cain was strong and imposing yet despite how great they were together there has never been anyone on the level of Abraham Dingle. Chas and Cain gave the family humility; they sold Home Farm and bought Wishing Well as a cover for the family business. They seemed like a wholesome family of farmers, like all families with secrets, they seemed normal.


Seventeen year old Aaron looked outside to see that it was still dark; the night was quiet as the world slept. Sandra had taken his little sister and left after a fight with Gordon, his father had come in to his room like he did every time he lost his temper but this time Aaron was expecting it, in fact he was waiting for him. His father had been ‘disciplining’ Aaron since he was 7 and every night Aaron begged and pleaded but the man wouldn’t listen, he would image horrible things happening to the man. He never let those thoughts manifest until that moment, the moment he broke.

 Something inside Aaron woke up and it wanted blood, so Aaron was going to give it to it. When he heard his father’s drunken footsteps walking towards his room Aaron prepared. Gordon walked in and saw the body of his son in bed; he needed to punish the boy for what he had done. As he grew closer he felt the anticipation grow within him and he smirked but suddenly everything went black. Behind the unconscious man stood Aaron holding a full bottle of whisky, a smirk firmly on his face.

Gordon opened his eyes to a massive headache and something wet running down the side of his face; he couldn’t remember anything “ah…what happened..?” His brain was working hard on trying to remember but the headache made it nearly impossible. He remembered drinking then going up to Aaron’s room but after that everything was a blur “did I pass out? Might have drunk too much…” He couldn’t help but groan “Is there such a thing?” The voice drew his attention to the rest of the room; he was still in his son’s bedroom while his boy was sitting on the shadow by the corner.

“Dammit Aaron! You surprised me, how long have you been there!?”

“Here? Since I knocked you out, why?”

That’s when Gordon noticed a few things, first he saw that his son was holding a bottle of whisky that was covered in blood and two; he realized that he was tied to the bed. Finally he noticed that he was naked and he began to struggle trying to get himself loose “Aaron! What is the meaning of this? Untie me, right now!” The boy just smiled at him “Why would I do that?” The boy got up and walked over to the man revealing his cold blue eyes, Gordon was terrified but he refused to let the boy notice.

“Aaron, I’m getting angry. Let me go and I will forget this happened, you have until the count of 3…1…2…”

“Really? You promise?”

“Of course son, now let me go.”

“Okay...But first…”

Aaron bends down and picked up a broom with a smirk on his face “you see Gordon, you’ve been a bad father and you need to be punished.” Gordon’s eyes widen “wha…what are you…” Aaron puts the bottle down and lays the broom stick on the bed between his father’s open legs “I’m going to punish you the only way you showed me how” Aaron got a concentrated look as if he was about to play billiard with his mates in a pub.

“Aaron, don’t…please…you can’t…I’m your father…” Aaron suddenly looked up, the casual look gone from his face replaced by a emotionless grin. “So..?” Gordon looked at his psychotic son with an incredulous look “you’re about to rape your own father with a broom!” Aaron turned his head as if giving Gordon’s statement some thought before turning to him “don’t say that, think of it as…disciplining.” It was all he said before pushing the stick up and hitting his mark.

“AAAAAAAAAHHHH!”

Emmerdale

“Forget about it Cain, it’s not going to happen.”

“Chas as the eldest, the mantel falls to your eldest and that’s Aaron.”

“It doesn’t matter! Aaron is a sweet boy living a normal life with his father. I don’t want him involve in this world, he wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

“So it all ends with you then?”

“What about your Debbie?”

“She’s not the daughter of the eldest child; the rules say that Aaron is the next head.”

“Then we will change the bloody rules!”

It was a common argument between the cousins turned siblings thanks to their liberal mother, Cain though it was time to beginning training the new head as they always begin their training at fifteen and Aaron was way pass that age. Chas has been reluctant to bring Aaron into the family business, it was the reason she send him away with his father. She wanted her son to have the normal life that as the eldest she never got, when she was younger she had been reluctant to join the family business.

A part of her knows that sending Aaron away was an act of rebellion against her strict father but when he became a useless alcoholic Chas found pride in the empire her family created and the power it gave her. Despite fully embracing her family business she was reluctant to bring Aaron in and treat him the way her father had treated her.        Her Aaron was too sweet and naïve for her world ‘no he’s better off with his father.’

“Boss your ex-husband’s house is on fire.”

“What!? Aaron!”

A few hours earlier

Aaron stood watching his handy work; his father was unconscious “wimp” he looked at the man in disgust. The older man had passed out after a few thrust of the broom. “His seven year old was stronger than him.” Aaron seemed so disappointed but smirked at the sight the man made, with tears and snot staining his face as well as a broom sticking out his arse stained red, blood everywhere. He picked up the bottle of whisky, opening it and taking a swing before pouring it over the bed and his father’s naked body.

He sat down and finished the rest of the bottle waiting for his father to wake up from his nap, it felt like hours before the man began to slowly show signs of waking up. “Urgh…” For a brief second Gordon didn’t feel anything, he thought that he might have been dreaming, that it was all a nightmare “finally back with me.” The voice of his son made him flinch and the pain was back, he felt wet and he wasn’t sure if it was sweat, blood or tears.

“Aaron, please…I’m sorry…I won’t do it again…please…”

“I know you won’t…”

Aaron got up and Gordon saw the empty whisky bottle in his hand “wha…” then Aaron pulled a lighter. In that moment the pieces fell into place, he smelled the whisky covering him but he couldn’t believe his son would go that far “Aaron, please…don’t do this…I’m your father…son, I love you…”The teenage laughed mockingly making Gordon flinch, when did his son become such a monster. “I don’t need your type of love.” Aaron placed the flame on the soak sheet and watch it lit up.

“AAAAAAAAHHH! AARONNNNN! PLEASEEEEE!”

He walked away from his father’s bloodcurdling screams with a smile on his face; he calmly walked around the house seeing if there was anything he wanted to safe before leaving the hellhole. Screams of the man who abused him since he was a child were cathartic for Aaron “freedom feels good…or is it justice?” He should probably be worry that he feels no remorse but then he remembers that fateful night when he was seven and shrugged the feeling off.

As the house went up in flames Aaron sat in the sidewalk watching everything like it was a movie, he hadn’t plan so far ahead but he knew he should leave. “Aaron?” A man rushed over to him “Are you Aaron? Your mum sent me…” The man says as if that was supposed to make Aaron trust him “So?” The man was thrown by the lack of reaction but the sound of sirens reminded him of the urgency of everything

“Come with me, I can take you to her and protect you.”

Aaron thought about it for a brief moment before deciding that he didn’t have another option than going with the man. “If you’re lying I will burn you.” The man was thrown back by the cold threat, there was no lie in the boys tone and the statement gave a new light to the image of the burning house “did you..?” He knew that the Dingles were ruthless but the kid didn’t grow up with the family.

“Are we going?”

Emmerdale- Days later

Aaron had been with the Dingles for a while and it was awkward, the boy had so much resentment for his mum which transferred to the rest of the family. He was also a teenager so he was going through his rebellious phase which meant he was a nightmare around the village. He didn’t seem bothered by the fire or his father’s death although Chas ordered everyone to avoid the issue as to not bring up painful memories.

“Are you sure!? Alright, I will let her know.”

“What is it Cain?”

“You might want to keep Aaron out of the family business but turns out it’s in his blood.”

Chas turned to her brother confused as the man stared at her son with a pensive look in his face. He couldn’t believe what he heard but if it was true a part of him couldn’t help but be proud at his nephew’s handy work. It worried him that Aaron doesn’t seem bothered by what he did for someone so young.

“What are you talking about?”

Aaron wasn’t sure what to think of his mother and her family, he knew that they were dodgy at best but he did like the village. The place was peaceful with what often felt like a barrier from the rest of the world. “Aaron” Chas called him with a serious yet soft tone, Aaron wasn’t sure he was ready to call the woman mother. ‘To me she never has been a mother anyways’ The woman tried to take a position that she didn’t earned and that annoyed him.

“What is it?”

“I know it’s hard to relive it but can you tell us what happened that night?”

“If you know it’s hard, why are you asking me that?”

“We need to know…”

“What your mother is trying to say, is we know what happened.” Cain declared rolling his eyes at Chas trying to molly coddle the boy.

“Then why are you asking me?” Aaron raised his eye brow, his face gave nothing away and the older Dingles couldn’t help but be impressed.

“Aaron sweetheart, did you really..?”

“Waste a bottle of perfectly good whisky and ruin a good broom…”

“…”

“…Unfortunately but there are things that just need be done, is that all?”

Chas was left in completely shock, her mouth wide open as her sweet and innocent son practically admitted to torturing and killing his own father. She had wanted badly to keep Aaron from this life but maybe it was never her choice to make. Cain smirked; he couldn’t help but feel proud of his nephew.

‘He’s definitely a Dingle.’

Chas looked at her brother who sent her a smug look “it’s in his blood.” Turning to her son she saw the looked that she had seen and heard describe on many of her ancestors before her. Aaron had the stare, viciousness and strength of a great yet terrifying leader.

“Love…there is something you have to know about our family…”


It has been two years since Aaron became the official heir to the family business and to Chas’ surprise her son had taken to the position perfectly. She hated to admit it but Cain was right, it was almost as if Aaron was made for it. He didn’t know much about the business but what he didn’t know he made up for with his ability to hide his emotions. The boy has a natural poker face that made everyone anxious. When it came to punishing traitors or making others fear and respect them, Aaron exceled at it to the point that Chas worried that her son might be a sociopath.

“Chas he’s not a sociopath, he’s a Dingle.”

Cain exclaimed when she brought it up but the woman could not let it go, she made it her goal to set her son up with any eligible woman in the village. “I heard the Holly Barton is single…” Aaron was looking at the books that Cain had given him so he didn’t spared his mum any attention and continued looking at the books. Aaron had not been too surprise about the family secret but he was surprise to hear that he was next in line to take over.

Aaron hadn’t been too sure about being involved, he wasn’t a petty criminal let alone a mastermind. What happened that night 2 years ago was born out of desperation and anger, Aaron didn’t think he was smart enough to manage a pub let alone control a whole criminal empire, plus he had a temper that always got him in trouble. So he just ignored it and avoided his mum, choosing to spend his time with Paddy, who he had gotten close to.

“I’m not meant for any of this, I’m no good…”

“You think anyone is born for this? It’s like any other job, you get trained and you learn as you go but most of all you make it your own.”

He had remembered his uncle’s words but it was the faith and loyalty from the rest of his family, he expected at least Debbie or Zak to be jealous that someone that didn’t grow up in the business was taking over what should have belonged to them. He knew about the rule of inheritance and he had also seen their family tree. He knew his grandfather and Zak were brothers but since his grandfather was born first, he therefore got the family empire.

“You’re always going to have enemies but never within the family. We take care of our own and we deal with our own problems within the family. But it can never affect the family business or the image others have of us.”

Zak was the one that convinced Aaron to stay and the family convinced him to try, he realized that he liked the small taste of power he got from being in charge. The Dingle Empire was massive and fearsome, they were at the top of the food chain and Aaron never wanted to be weak again so he decided to accept his mother’s proposition. Since then he has been in training to take over for his mother when he turned twenty-one, he had been focusing on finding a second like his uncle was for his mother. He had narrowed the choices down to his cousin Debbie and his best friend Adam.

It was a hard and very important decision so he didn’t have time for his mother’s nonsense who had become more relaxed as she began transferring most of her duties to Aaron. The other reason he ignored his mum was because most of the time she went off about his lack of love lifel[;. “…I’ve seen her looking at you.” Chas wagged her eyebrows trying to get her son excited or at the very least interested. “Should I ripe her eyes out?” Aaron stated dryly never taking his eyes on the books so he missed his mother’s look of shock.

“I…I…You know, sometimes I don’t know if you’re joking.”

“Why would I joke?” Aaron finally looked at his mother “If I have an itch to scratch…trust me, I don’t need you to find a scratcher for me.”

Aaron couldn’t tell his mother about his confusion and his slight crush on Adam because it was not something that he had accepted or even processed. The thought of it made him feel dirty and messed up as if he was becoming what his father always said he was.  But the more he pushed it away, the more persistent it became like a headache that just wouldn’t go away. He thought about doing what his mother suggested and using a woman to kill the urge but when he even thought about it, the urge became stronger.

“Dammit! This is getting ridiculous.”

Paddy was the only one that noticed something was wrong and he paid the price for it “Aaron it’s okay to be…” Aaron doesn’t remember raising his hand, one moment he was glaring at the man wanting him to shut up and the next he was on top of the bruised and bloody man. “Shit! Paddy, you shouldn’t have…” Aaron got off him and tried to apologize without saying the words but he was too angry so he just walked away. He doesn’t know where he was going but he needed to get away from that dark blood thirsty anger he had only felt that night.


“Hey mate, are you okay?”

Then he met Jackson and everything changed, the man was bright, kind, and friendly. He was everything that Aaron wasn’t and that pulled Aaron in. When he met the man he found him annoying and persistent but at the same time he was patient and he saw a good in Aaron that the Dingle didn’t really possessed. “How about you do one” Despite Aaron’s rude words and harsh tone the man was hesitant to leave him “Whatever it is talking to an unbiased third party might help.” That was their first meeting and while it seemed insignificant, it touched something deep inside Aaron.

They kept crossing paths and each time Jackson smiled at him and greeted him. The man never mentioned their first meeting or seeing Aaron in such a state. “What’s your deal!?” Aaron had gotten annoyed mostly by his new attraction for the man “what do you mean?” the man turned his head in confusion “you’re always smiling like we know each other.” Jackson just smiled at Aaron’s temper tantrum.

“I just figure we could be friends.”

Their friendship had not lasted long as Aaron found himself falling for Jackson like a pathetic school boy, it seemed like he couldn’t have a male friend without falling for them. ‘Maybe I’m just that pathetic’ the difference between Jackson and Adam was that with Jackson the feeling wasn’t one-sided. Aaron learned this when Jackson kissed him, his lips were so soft that Aaron became hooked the moment they touched his.

But then he heard Gordon’s voice in his head and he couldn’t go through with it, he pushed Jackson away. “Stay away from me! I’m not like you!” Jackson was thrown off by the sudden anger “Wha..?” But the voice of Gordon just got louder and it made him want to make someone bleed so he ran. Aaron decided to focus on his work; his ignored everyone’s concern and took his anger out on those who couldn’t do their jobs right.

“Aaron is everything okay?” Chas was the one brave enough to address her son’s reason short temper.

“Of course it is. Why would you think it wasn’t?”

“Well…you just beat one of our own for messing up a small deal…”

“No deal is small, that kind of thinking is what makes them think they could mess up. And any ways I left him alive.”

“Barely…” Chas exclaimed remembering how the man was covered in his own blood and unconscious when Aaron finally stopped.

“If you don’t like how I do things, you can stay in charge or pick someone else. If not stay back let me do things my way.” Aaron’s tone was harsh yet firm as he glared down his mother challenging her before walking away when she didn’t push back.

Chas was worried that as she had feared the family business was turning her son into a dark and cruel man. She didn’t want that for him, she had heard of family members that had lost their humanity once they took control. Chas wanted Aaron to be different but it was like something was pulling her son towards the dark and he couldn’t fight it ‘or he didn’t want to.’

She was losing her son before she even had him “Aaron! What’s going on with you?” She yelled after the boy, the emotions clear in her voice “I saw what you did to Paddy…” She added when she saw that he stopped. “…That’s not like you; you loved Paddy and your father…” Aaron turned abruptly at the mention of Gordon; his eyes were as cold as ice and he stalked over to the woman.

“Don’t you dare ever mention that man in my presence or I’ll show you what I showed him that night, I don’t love anyone.”

For the first time ever Chas was slightly afraid of her son because she could see nothing but promise in his eyes. ‘Maybe Cain was right and he’s not a sociopath, maybe he’s a psychopath’ The woman thought as she began to doubt giving Aaron so much power, it was as if Aaron could read her thoughts because he turned away looking disappointed and for a brief moment Chas thought she saw hurt in those eyes.

“Let me know if I no longer have to worry about learning the family business cause then I can leave this place and never look back.”

“What!? You would leave..?”

“Of course, why else would I stay? For a family that never cared about me or a mother that dumped me in hell to ease her own conscience…No, I’ve had enough of crappy parents to last me a life time.”

Aaron walked away casually as if he hadn’t just torn his own mother apart with his words and his tones. The bitterness and betray were like knives stabbing Chas in the heart and it hurt more because they were true. Aaron seemed to walk away unbothered but his back hid the tears that ran down his face. He wondered in that moment what had he done to deserve such crappy parents and there was only one person he could think of to ease his pain.


“I know you hate me…” Aaron burst in with a desperate look in his face.

“Let me get my jacket.”

Somehow Jackson expected Aaron to come back not out of arrogance or confidence in himself but because he has been where Aaron was. He knew what the younger man was feeling and he understood it more than anyone else. Jackson had tried to escape who he was but he learned that he couldn’t and once he accepted it, he was free. The two walked in the dark away from the village “you’re wrong I don’t hate you because I know what you’re going through.” Aaron laughed with tears running down his face making a weird sound because as much as he tried Jackson could never understand what he was going through.

“Really and what is that?”

“The fact that you’re gay and you feel like you can’t be…”

“Is not that I can’t is that I don’t want to!”

“Now we both know that’s a lie.”

Jackson’s statement was followed by silence from both boys who got lost in their own thoughts with the sounds of the night as background music. “My mum thinks I’m a monster, she doesn’t want me here.” Aaron broke the silence shocking Jackson with his words “What! What would make you think something like that!?” Jackson exclaimed not being able to believe any mother thought their child was a monster “I see it in her eyes, she send me off to my father as soon as she could and the only reason she let me stay now was because she wanted me to take over the family business.” It made no sense to Jackson that Chas would welcome her son just so he could take care of the pub.

“Aaron, I’m sure that’s not true. I’ve seen the way she is with you, Chas loves you…”

“No, she doesn’t but it’s fine because I don’t love her…”

“…”

“…I don’t love anyone, I can’t love anyone the same way that no one could love me.”

Jackson felt his heart break and his body moved on his own, grabbing Aaron’s face and turning the younger man to look at him. The bloodshot eyes and the tears still running down them made Jackson feel something “that’s not true…” he wanted to take the sadness out of those beautiful eyes so he lean forwards and crashed his lips against Aaron’s, tasting the saltiness of his tear. He felt Aaron’s hands on his neck and it made him shiver, soon the lack of oxygen made them pull away.

“…because I love you.”

He had only known Aaron for a few months but the words felt right as they left his lips, maybe it wasn’t true love but he definitely cared for Aaron more than a friend should. His feelings felt too strong to be considered like yet not strong enough to be love but closer to love than like so the words felt right.

Aaron was shocked; he could see nothing but honesty in the man’s eyes ‘no one had said those words and actually meant them.’ He pulled Jackson into his arms and kissed him but this time the kiss was desperate and wild. It was the manifestation of Aaron’s desires and need for affection as well as his appreciation for the man that seemed to have been an angel in Aaron’s otherwise dark world. They returned back to Jackson’s place and continued to release their passion and appreciation of each other. That night Jackson became his anchor, he was the one that kept Aaron human.

Jackson’s love and patience as well as the support of Paddy and Adam helped Aaron come out slowly. He started with telling his best friend and the man that had become like his father “I know and I’m so proud of you.” Paddy’s words still make him cry when he thinks about them; no one had said them to him. “Muppet! You though I would care about that, you’re still my brother.” Adam had made him laugh before annoying him by teasing him like any brother would and through it all Jackson was by his side every step of the way.

After them he told his uncle Cain who he had begun to see as a mentor, from the very beginning the man had been more accepting of Aaron than his own mother. Aaron realized that Cain’s opinion was very important to him so telling him made Aaron the most nervous “So? You want me to throw you a parade?” He had nothing to worry about and the man continued to treat him the same as if nothing changed “that’s because nothing did, on the side of the family you’re still the same Aaron. Now on the side of business…” His uncle had reminded him that if he took over for his mother their contacts might not respect him and he might lose credibility.

But the thing about being open and free was that it was hard to stop, once out of the closet Aaron didn’t want to go back. It was an argument that he had with his mother once he told her and she accepted him “Aaron I’m not saying you have to hide…” Aaron crossed his arms glaring at his mother who had suggested he went back in the closet “really!? Cause that’s what it sounds like, either you accept me or not.” He exclaimed a little hurt that his own mother wouldn’t accept this part of him.

“This had nothing to do with accepting you, I accept you and I’m proud of you for coming out but not everyone will be the same. Normally I wouldn’t care but we have a business to maintain all I’m saying is to keep your private life private.”

“Aaron, your mother has a point…”

“…”

“…Kid, the rest of the world is not as accepting and they will see it as a weakness.”

“Then I’ll show them it’s not…”

“…”

“…Even if I have to cut the head of everyone making foolish assumptions to proof it.”

The room was silent and in that moment the family saw the birth of a new Don of the Dingle mafia family. In that moment as Chas saw the deadly promise in Aaron’s eyes she realized that her son was ready, it was finally time for her to step down. Aaron seemed more balanced and well adjusted, she had been worried before because unless she organized a coup once she handed command there was no getting it back. But in that moment she knew that she had nothing to worry about because her son was ready.

“Okay…let do the ceremony.”

Everyone looked at Chas in surprise; they honestly didn’t think that the woman would ever be ready to pass down the mantel. Cain was the only one not surprised as he knew how exhausted his sister was of being in charge. “Chas are you sure?” She turned to see Marlon ask with trepidation is his eyes but she just nodded her head “he’s ready” Aaron was the most surprised since a few nights ago his mother was thinking of not giving him control.

“But…I’m not 21?”

It wasn’t unheard of for a Dingle to take control before his 21st birthday but it had been rare unless the previous boss died or was unable to fulfill his duties like her father. “I know but you’re ready. Pick your second and we will do the passing of power.” Aaron suddenly felt his shoulder sagged like a heavy cloak was dropped on them. He wondered if he was really ready, he could still back out and leave the village but he looked around at his family.

“Debbie…she will be my second.”

The woman mentioned got up and stood beside Aaron squeezing her younger cousin’s hands as they stood before their family as the new head and second in command. Aaron picked Debbie because unlike him she was born into this world and she grew up in it. They balanced each other out with a perfect blend of the new way and the old ways. Plus Debbie was trained to become second since she was born, Adam didn’t even know the depth of the family business.

“Good, we’ll gather everyone and make it official.”


There was no major ceremony in the mafia when passing down power usually because the predecessor is dead and the successor was force to take over. Within the Dingle Mafia there had been a few times when predecessor and successor had been alive, when the change of power had been due to retirement and not death.

They needed a way to make it official as the group grew in power and size; the way that it was done was by calling together all the underbosses to a meeting so they could be there to witness the transfer of power. Which basically was just the old boss speaking a few words basically saying goodbye and loudly presenting their successor. The new boss sometimes spoke but it wasn’t necessary, there was also the legal stuff like papers and name change but that was done behind the scenes.

After that the new boss would travel around all their other territories to make sure the soldiers all knew him and respected him or fear him whichever the new boss preferred but most all of that he set his own mark. This was usually the time when new bosses began to make changes, killing people off, and recruiting new people. For Aaron that was the time he realized that as their empire grew the bosses that came before him had neglected the branches that were further away from their base of operation.

“We have to fix this!”

He turned to Debbie by his side who watched with disappointment and displeasure at the deplorable state of the branch in the South West. The soldiers were weak muppets, most of them gobby teenagers that the boss took from the streets or schools. The boss was another problem; the man was an arrogant foolish prat with a sexist streak a mile long. “You think he can be trained?” Aaron wondered making sure not to give his emotions away. “The man is like an infected toe that was too far gone and needed to be cut off ages ago.” No one really knew what type of leader Aaron would be not even the family.

On their last night in the South West territory, Debbie was able to see mob boss Aaron in action and he was terrifying. They had been in a meeting with the useless underboss when some soldiers came in carrying and struggling man with bruises all over. “We found one of our own coming out of that poof club” Aaron’s raised his eyebrow and it was the only sign that he was  paying attention “I knew I should’ve burned the place down!” The underboss slammed his hand on the table making his subordinates flinch while Debbie and Aaron remained unaffected and silent just observing.

“Why burn it? Is it competition or affection our profit?” Debbie didn’t know how Aaron could be so calm in the presence of a clear homophobe like the man before them but she could see her cousin was testing the ma to see if he was dumb and ignorant enough to say what they knew he was thinking…he was.

“Make a profit out of those poofs!? Hah! All their good for is as fuel for the fires of hell. We’ve been making sure to let them know they’re not wanted here or anywhere run by the Dingles.”

Aaron could almost hear his father screaming the same words to him and they pissed him off but he remained calm on the outside. “You’re a Dingle..?” Aaron turned to Debbie “…When did this happened?” The underboss looked flabbergasted at being disrespected before his subordinates, Aaron stood up “so you took the liberty to solve this nonexistent problem for us.” He picked up a heavy paper weight that seemed like a gold bar

“Is this real?” Everyone was thrown off by the sudden change in mood and subject “Ah…Of course!” the arrogance in the underboss’ voice was clear and annoying.

“And about the poof club…I was doing my job…”

Suddenly Aaron swung the paper weight slamming it into the side of the underboss’ head immediately coating it in blood, the underboss fell to the floor as everyone gasped in shock. When the soldiers seemed to be walking over Debbie got in their way “you’re loyalty is to the Dingle family and Aaron is the head of the Dingle family therefore if he wants to beat someone you should only stand up to hand him a weapon…” The soldiers looked hesitant at leaving the underboss to his fate but Debbie could see it had nothing to do with loyalty and more to do with fear.

‘They should fear us not that muppet!’

“…Is that clear!?” They must have seen something in her eyes or it was the fact that Aaron took that time to ignore them and swing the paper weight again slamming it into the man’s head again, completely unbothered by anyone around him. The man looked terrifying, like the devil himself had come up to get his twisted kicks by killing a poor son of a bitch. They all unanimously agreed that Aaron Dingle was a worse beast than the one they had.

“Yes ma’am”

For a while the room was filled the sounds of the gold bar connecting with flesh, the squishy sound flesh and blood cushioning the gold bar and later the crack of skull breaking. Debbie sat down looking at the papers as if a man was not getting beaten to death a few feet away, as if the few screams did not bothered her even when they stopped.

The soldiers watched horrified as their boss was beaten to death, even worse the man continued to beat their boss even after he stopped moving. Blood, skull fragments and pieces of brain splatter everywhere including their shoes, most of them had to cover their mouths or turn away to stop themselves from throwing up. To their surprise after a while Aaron rose up and let go of the gold bar with a calm look on his face.

“Feel better?” Debbie asked, everyone shivered –including Debbie although she was better at hiding it- when Aaron gave a smile of satisfaction although it was more of a smirk.

“Yes, I do. I might be going to hell but it’s definitely won’t be for being a poof.”

 The soldiers’ eyes widen as Aaron admitted to being gay, one of them looking hopeful despite his eyes being practically swollen shut from the beating he got. “Do you have a problem with that because gold bars are very durable?” They looked at the mob boss’ bloody clothes then the dead body of their old boss and shook their heads. “Good” After that Aaron sat down behind the desk like he didn’t just beat a man to death “get someone clean that up.” He pointed to the body as if it was spilled milk.

In the end Aaron decided to send someone to train the South West branch and with a smirk he made the poof they beat up the new underboss. The rest of their visit was the same; Debbie realized that Aaron had a temper that was led by a dark and often twisted mind. When he was angered he could be utterly terrifying but he was also absolutely brilliant, filled with new ideas. In her case Debbie had to deal with a few sexist old fools but she was a Dingle and she made sure they remembered that, with a little more finesse than Aaron.

The first few months were busy and hectic as they were always the months when people tried to push the new head boss to see what his limits were. Their human travel abroad program which was what they called their human trafficking was doing well as many people continued wanting to leave in search of new opportunity and the government was still being difficult about visas and passports making them the next best option.

Their forgery had taken a hit becoming outdated with the rise of technology so at the suggestion of Belle, Aaron modernized it bringing in hackers and specialize machinery. So forgery became cybercrimes anything from hacking to identity theft and much more. The old traditional fools had issues with the new changes but they were too scare of the Dingle name to actually say anything to their face so they went behind Aaron and Debbie’s back collecting support to push out the new boss.

“HE’S A BLOODY POOF!” A man ran into their secret meeting filled with disgust and indignation after seeing their so call boss kissing a man.

“Are you sure?”

“I saw him with my own eyes!”

“Maybe you were confused”

“Oh yea because mates kiss in the lips, I don’t know about you but I’ve never done that with my mates.”

“I guess it is true the Dingle family is not what it once used to be.”

Chapter Text

More beast than man

For once in his life Aaron felt content, he had been worry that taking over the family mafia would completely destroy any resemblance of a life that he could have. He did need to travel every once in a while but that was easily explained as part of the family business which no one in the village really asked about. “What is the family business anyways?” Aaron should’ve known that Jackson would be different.

The man had been patient and understanding as Aaron got used to and comfortable with being out and open. Jackson had been shockingly surprised by how well Aaron took to being out; within a few weeks Aaron was holding his hand and kissing him without pushing him away although nothing in public but Jackson had a feeling that was more due to his grumpy personality.

Their relationship had been great so far expect for the few business trips Aaron had to take that made Jackson realize he had no idea what the family business was. “What do you mean?” Aaron looked at him confuse “Well I don’t actually know what the family business really is, when I ask anyone they just say ‘a little of everything’ which is not an answer.” Aaron told him the answer that everyone not involved in their world gets.

“We run a construction company with contractors in a few locations around the country, nothing big but it keeps food on the table.”

Technically it was not a lie since that was their legal business but it’s also not the whole truth “oh makes sense, you are very burly.” Jackson moved his eyebrows suggestively which made Aaron laugh and roll his eyes affectionately. As much as Aaron wanted to kiss his smiling boyfriend, they were at the woolie which had a big crowd so he didn’t. Chas watched her son smiling at his boyfriend and she couldn’t help but marvel at how different her son was around Jackson.

She had worried that Aaron was a sociopath and had no love or care for anyone but she could see that she was wrong. Chas could see the love and care in Aaron’s eyes when Jackson was by his side. At first she had been opposed to the relationship because she didn’t think it was fair to bring an innocent into their life but she was realizing that Jackson was much more than a boyfriend, he not only helped Aaron accept himself but he also grounds her son. As the previous boss Chas knew that it was important to have something outside the business to stay sane and balanced, for Aaron that was Jackson.


Over the months Jackson had unknowingly helped Aaron make the Dingle family more approachable around the village where as before people walked on egg shells around them and they were feared. Jackson also helped strengthen her relationship with her son “mothers are important especially if they’re supportive, I’ve always been close to mine. I’m just saying you should give her a chance.” He convinced Aaron to give her a chance to actually be his mother. “Chas…” She was snapped out of her motherly pride “Cain, what is it?” her brother did not look pleased but he never did so that wasn’t new “…there’s been word that some of the underbosses are not too happy and planning to push Aaron out.”

“What!?”

Her exclamation got her some stares so she pulled Cain into the back room not noticing Aaron looking after them. “I’m going to the loo, I’ll be right back” Jackson smiled and continued to eat; he walked to the back passing Diane who was helping out at the bar. “Do you know who they are?” He heard his mother ask “who do you think? My money is on the old fools stuck in the old ways. They heard about Aaron’s preference and weren’t too happy” He heard his uncle respond and Aaron rolled his eyes ‘looks like I’m going to have to retire a few people.’

“I knew this would happen!”

“And I will deal with it.” They both turned to see Aaron at the door, a serious look on his face “I’ll ignore the fact that you didn’t come to me directly about this.”

“There no secret I was going to tell you but I was hoping we could find a solution without shedding blood.” Everyone knew that Aaron tended to be a shoot first ask questions later kind of leader.

“I’ll take care of it.”

‘That’s what worries us.’


On their 8 month anniversary Aaron decided to try for romance and take a break, he had closed the pub and asked Marlon to prepare some meat pies which were Jackson’s favorite. He also practically ordered his mother to stay away “Oh you want the house to yourself, okay well be safe and use…” After some teasing she listened to him and left to the Wishing Well. He was so nervous because he wasn’t use to doing things like this, Belle had helped him decorate the pub with red roses and candles which was not his thing but he hoped Jackson liked it.

“Why are you acting so shifty?”

“I’m not acting shifty.” Jackson looked at him suspiciously but Aaron was still a mystery to him so he let it go until Aaron got in front of him at the door of the pub.

“Close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“Just close them!”

“…”

“Trust me, please.”

Jackson closed his eyes and was led into the strangely silent pub; his first thought was a surprise party but no one screamed when they walked in and it was not his birthday. Aaron moved him around before leaving him to move other things around in the room “okay you can open them.” As he did he gasped at the image before him, the pub had been turned into an Italian bistro. The tables had been moved to the side and only one was left in the middle. The table had cloth and was set like a restaurant, the pub was lit by fairy lights and candles with plastic vines and grapes as well as rose petals sprinkled everywhere.

“Wow”

“I know you always talked about visiting Italy, so I brought it here. It’s not much but…”

“…” Jackson was speechless because he had thought that Aaron had forgotten their anniversary, in that moment he realized he was completely and utterly in love with the man before him.

“It was a stupid idea…” Aaron felt embarrassed as he got the wrong idea from Jackson’s silence.

“No! It’s not stupid, this is perfect. No one has ever done this for me before.”

Jackson got teary eyed and walked over to Aaron grabbing his face and kissing him, he put all his love in the kiss. Aaron responded deepening the kiss but Jackson pulled away before it could go further “so what’s for dinner?” Aaron had to shake himself to calm himself down. The rest of the night they talked and joke, Jackson almost convinced Aaron to dance as ‘Bella Notte’ played in the background. After they went on a walk with the moon bright in the sky and laid at the cricket pavilion to watch the stars.

“This night has been absolutely perfect, thank you.” Aaron just squeezed him tighter in respond which didn’t surprise Jackson; his boyfriend wasn’t the sentimental type.

They were peacefully quiet enjoying the stars and the moon, their clothes would most likely have grass stains but in that moment neither cared.

“Aaron…”

“Hm..?”

“…I love you.” Jackson felt when Aaron froze, he wasn’t expecting the man to say it back but he didn’t want to scare his boyfriend and ruin the moment. Aaron grabbed Jackson’s chin and pulled his face up so that his boyfriend was looking at him before kissing him. Jackson didn’t hear the words back but the kiss told him that they were on the same road.


Finding the traitors was harder than they expected as they weren’t the only ones to doubt Aaron and Debbie’s rule. They thought that being gay made Aaron weak and some thought that Debbie being woman made her temperamental and weak but that number was much smaller since Chas had not being the first female boss of the Dingle family. At the insistence of Chas, Aaron decided to go for the more diplomatic approach of interrogating without torture. He had let Debbie and Cain handle it since no one would confess to him as the main problem was with him.

Instead he focused on the main side of the business, making sure to add more protection to their people by strengthening their relationships with politicians and high ranking officials as well as spending millions of pounds into buying more cops and putting them under his payroll.

He realized that the people that worked under them legally got benefits but those on the other side didn’t so he worked to fix that. His changes were winning him the loyalty of the soldiers but the disdain of his underbosses which only fuel those that wanted him out.

The rest of his free time was spent with Jackson, which was the only time he felt that he could smile and relax. “You’re really tense” his boyfriend said as he massaged Aaron’s shoulders, it made the mobster’s eyes close in pleasure “work’s been stressful.” Jackson made a sympathetic sound “want to talk about it?” That was one of the things Aaron regretted about dating Jackson, he couldn’t talk to the man about his worries and concerns. It was suffocating keeping all his feelings and thoughts to himself; it wasn’t the same talking to his family because he didn’t feel comfortable opening up to them.

“Just some homophobes not happy with me taking over and wanting me out”

“What!? They can’t do that, your sexuality had nothing to do with the way you do your job.”

“Not everyone thinks that way and you know that.”

He could almost see Jackson’s frown and it made him smile to know that the man cared about him so much, it was a nice feeling, one that he never had before. “Forget about them…” He grabbed Jackson’s hand on his shoulders and pulled the smaller man until he landed on Aaron’s lap “…come here, let’s relief stress some other way.” Aaron crashed their lips together feeling his control slipping as his wild side demanded sex in exchange for not getting the blood of those who pissed him off.

“Aaron…” Aaron moved from his boyfriend’s mouth to his neck with a desperation that had Jackson breathless “…we can’t…”

“Why not..?” He squeezed Jackson’s bulge feeling as it grew harder under his hand and pulled a moan from his man “…This tells me that you want it as much as I do.”

“Yes…but someone could come in and see us.”

Instead of responding Aaron pulled Jackson into a rough kiss while rubbing him through his jeans. Jackson’s hand grabbed Aaron’s arm but didn’t try too hard to make him stop, the friction was far too great to make it stop. He felt Aaron’s hard bulge rub against his ass and it made him moan into the man’s mouth.

Aaron was extreme adventurous and daring when it came to sex, Jackson knew that it was due to him being freshly out the closet and wanting to test the waters. Much like a teenager that graduated and was off to college away from their parents so they celebrated by trying everything that was forbidden to them. Jackson on the other hand was much more tame and vanilla when it came to sex, he was a firm supporter of the basic and that anything else complicates something that should be so simple.

“Aaron!”

Debbie’s voice was a bucket of ice water to them both as Jackson jumped away from Aaron’s lap as if he had been electrocuted and grabbed a cushion to covered his already wilting erection. The man refused to turn around in an effort to hide his blushing face while Aaron just seemed annoyed. “Oh shit! I’m sorry! I didn’t know…” Debbie tried to apologize especially when she saw the annoyance in Aaron’s eyes, she also felt bad because with all the stress he’s been going through Aaron deserved some down time.

“What is so important?”

“We have something…”

Aaron’s expression completely changed from frustration to cold seriousness, it threw Jackson off as he wasn’t used to seeing that side of his otherwise grumpy but sweet boyfriend “I have to go…” Aaron got up and Jackson tried to speak but the man kissed him on the forehead which left him speechless since Aaron was extremely against PDA “…I’ll make it up to you.” He turned to Debbie and the two walked out after Debbie apologized to Jackson one more time.

Jackson was curious about what could be so bad to make Aaron forget his PDA law, he was still confuse about Aaron’s job. He looked up information on the Dingle business and was surprise to see articles about organized crime, he guessed it was another Dingle family since the last name was more popular in the country than he thought but it made him curious. He doesn’t know why he did it because he trusted Aaron but his curiosity was too much so he went after Aaron.

They had a head start but fortunately they lived in a small village filled with nosey people that paid too much attention to other people’s business “have you seen Aaron?” He asked Pearl who was walking around “up to no good with the rest of his lot. You should run while you can such a nice boy like you would be ruin by that thug and his lot.” Jackson smiled at the woman; it was something that he had become use to hearing.

Aaron and he were complete opposites for most people; his boyfriend was grumpy while he was all smiles. Aaron was pessimistic and negative about everything while Jackson was an optimist filled with positivity but the last one is by far the most confusing to him. Jackson did a lot of volunteer work with homeless and animal shelters and even worked with LGBT youth while Aaron ran his family’s construction business although people acted like he was a criminal.

“Thank you for the concern but right now I just need to know where he went.”

Pearl didn’t look amuse and just pointed him in the direction of the Wishing Well “thank you. Get home safe.” He told the woman in an effort to pacify the annoyance she felt before he ran to follow his boyfriend. He felt guilty since Aaron was probably discussing business and Jackson was acting like an insecure and jealous boyfriend. He almost turned back until he realized that he was at the Wishing Well land, he thought about going in and making up some excuse for why he was there.

Suddenly he saw movement a few feet from the house in a barn that had seen better days ‘damn it! I should turn back. Jackson you should trust him, he has been amazing and you’re abusing his trust.’ Even though he berated himself he still walked forward at least just to prove to himself that he was crazy. There were men by the door walking around which made him suspicious so he walked around until he found a crack in the wood to see what was going on, inside he saw Cain and Debbie but no Aaron.

“We know you’ve betrayed the family; you know what we do to traitors. Now tell us who whispered in your ear.”

Jackson almost gasped when he saw a man tied in a chair ‘maybe that’s a burglar and their holding him for the cops’ he tried to justify what he was seeing. “I swear I didn’t do anything. Please I’ve been nothing but loyal…” The man begged with tears in his eyes, it touched Jackson’s heart “I’m losing my patience” this time Jackson could not hold back his gasp as Aaron stepped forward.

“…”

The man seemed to not be as scare of Aaron as he was when Cain interrogated him; the man was almost cocky and slightly disgusted. “You seem to have a problem with me…” Aaron added casually “…or is it my sexuality?” That seemed to be the trigger for the man whose face twisted in anger and disgust “a poof can’t be in charge! We’re the laughing stock everywhere!” Jackson liked the tied man a little less although he still did not agree with what was going on “you think poofs are too weak?” Aaron sounded calmer than Jackson had ever heard him “of course!”

“I see”

Suddenly Aaron’s fist crashed into the man’s face and didn’t stop until blood was splattering everywhere, even some teeth flew out. Jackson felt sick at the blank look in Aaron’s face as if he wasn’t affected by beating a man. Fortunately he stopped and the man was barely conscious “hm…” Aaron seemed disappointed “you might be right about that…” he looked at his hands as if they let him down “…you should be dead.” The cold look in Aaron’s eyes made both the man and Jackson shiver. Soon the sound of the man being beaten filled the night along with his pleas that fell on deaf ears “please…stop…I’m…” Aaron showed no mercy and Jackson threw up in the back of the barn watching his boyfriend beat a man.

“I’ll talk! I’LL TALK!”

“I don’t really want to hear it anymore, this it more satisfying.”

The beating continued and Jackson couldn’t take it anymore he ran forgetting stealth as he tried to get away from the barn and was spotted by the men out front “Hey!” They yelled at him getting the attention of the people inside “What the hell is going on?” Jackson heard Aaron yelled but he didn’t look back “someone was spying boss.” Aaron glared at the men who flinched back from the ice eyes that threatened to burn him alive “Aaron, look!” Debbie pointed to the running back and Aaron could make out a familiar form “Damn!”

Jackson was out of breath when he reached the village although he didn’t stop until he reached his car which was parked in the Woolpack lot. He had to get away from the village “Jackson!” he turned to see a frantic Aaron running towards him so he got into the car started it before the man got near “Wait! Let me explain!” It was too late, by the time that Aaron reached him Jackson was already driving away. He took out his phone and called his boyfriend “come on, pick up!” he became desperate; he couldn’t imagen what Jackson was thinking.

His phone rang nonstop but he ignored it until he reached a traffic light and he couldn’t ignore it much more “stop calling me!” He screamed “give me a chance to explain, I know what it looks like.” Aaron pleaded “oh you know what it’s like to see your boyfriend beat a man to death.” Aaron was quiet for a moment “he’s not dead” Jackson let a frustrated sigh “that’s what you focused on!?” He yelled, angry that Aaron did not sound like was taking things serious.

“It’s the only way I can deal with possibly losing you…Jackson please…”

“Aaron I can’t”

“You love me don’t you? That doesn’t just go away!”

“Of course I do but…”

“Then give me a chance to explain, make your decision after that.”

“…”

Jackson knew that he was stupid if he turned back there was no going back if he did and he wasn’t sure what he was getting into. The desperation in Aaron’s voice moved him and despite what he saw he still loved the man. “Jackson, please” The softness in his voice was the final push for him but when he tried to turn back he couldn’t. Aaron begged tears running down his eyes “I lo…” before he could finish “AARON!” Jackson yelled and then he heard the screech of tires followed by a loud crash.

“Jackson…JACKSON!”


The funeral was somber, even the sky itself cried in tune with Jackson’s mother while Aaron on the other hand had no more tears left. The man also had to be strong for Jackson’s mum as the woman fell apart from the moment she heard the news of the accident. Aaron had cried until he couldn’t, his eyes were bloodshot from his tears. He had taken care of all the expenses while Debbie took over the business for the time being. Chas had been a constant support by his side keeping him sane but the woman worried that besides crying Aaron hadn’t really reacted.

The funeral was packed as all the people Jackson helped wanted to say goodbye to the kind man. It was a small comfort to his mother, to know that her son was loved and appreciated but it didn’t stop her pain. After the service everyone headed home after giving their condolences to Aaron and Jackson’s mother. Chas welcomed everyone in the pub after and some friends shared their favorite and best memories of Jackson, it was a very intimate event for family and friends only.

A few days later

“Aaron, there’s something you need to see.”

Cain approached his nephew learning from his previous mistakes and going to Aaron first with his news. “What is it?” Aaron was annoyed at not being able to actually mourn his boyfriend or even deal with his death. The older man looked around the pub “Not here, come with me” Cain led him out through the back room and to his garage which he set up after he ‘retired.’ “What the hell is that doing here!?” He was pissed at seeing Jackson’s destroyed car, he glared at his uncle. “Get that out of here now!”

“Listen to me!”

“Not until that is out of here!” Cain was angry that Aaron was being irrational while the younger man began to walk away.

“It wasn’t an accident”

“What?”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you, we went to pick up the car and I saw a trail of oil leading to the wreck so I brought it here and saw the break lines were cut.”

“Who..?” Aaron could feel that dark wild beast slowly rise and demand blood; it ordered him to raise hell.

“I suspect it was the same people behind wanting you out of power.”

“Do you know who they are?”

“A few, the rest I only suspect but I don’t know who’s the head.”

To Cain’s surprised Aaron nodded his head and simply walked away “get rid of that” was all he said before leaving the man behind. Aaron thought about what he was going to do, much like with his father his anger was so high that he was overcome by a cold controlled anger that was much more dangerous than his wild temper. He knew that he had to set everyone straight once and for all, he wanted blood and he was going to get it.

Cain told his sister because he was worry by Aaron’s lack of response “WHAT!? Why would you tell him?” Chas was furious she knew that Aaron was just a hair trigger away from losing it “because he knew I’m the only one that had a right to know.” They jumped up as Aaron stood by the door, they didn’t even hear the man come in. His face was blank and his eyes ice cold

“Aaron, sweetheart…”

“Do you have a problem with that Chastity?” Aaron raised his eyebrow in challenge

“…”

“There is a meeting with the underbosses today, I want you both there.” It wasn’t a request and they knew that.

“Of course we’ll be there.”

“What’s the meeting for?”

“22:00 at the factory.” It was the only respond Cain got from his nephew ending the conversation.

Chas and Cain looked into each other’s eyes with worry as they wondered what he was planning; Cain had a feeling that Aaron was going to confront the underbosses as the young man wasn’t very patient or diplomatic. Chas on the other hand was worry that her son was going to make everything worse, she knew from experience that the underbosses were annoying but they were a necessity like a King had to deal with his council.


A few hours later

As the meeting started and all the underbosses started to show up everyone was anxious and nervous by the sudden meeting. Cain noticed that all the underbosses also came in with their second in command and one or two high ranking soldiers. The whole Dingle family was present except for the children, the factory was an old factory on the outskirts of Hotten that they renovated and use for their meetings such as the passing of power. For a brief moment after they all sat down nothing happened and that just increased the tension as Aaron’s cold eyes just looked around.

“I’m sure you are all wondering why I have called you all here…”

“…”

“Recently my boyfriend died in an accident and I wanted to honor his memory…”

The words threw everyone for a loop even the Dingles themselves; the only one that seemed aware of what was going on was Debbie as it should be. Aaron watched those that looked confuse and discarded them instead he focused on the ones whose eyes were filled with indignation, disgust or anger even a mixture of all three.

“To expose a bigot you have to forced them before that which they hate, they cannot hide their bigotry no matter how hard they try.” Debbie had been right he could see it in their eyes even the eyes of some of the soldiers “sir, surely this is not the place or environment for such a thing…” one of the bigots exclaimed while the others voiced their agreement

“Why not? One should grief with family and you are all part of the Dingle family.”

The words filled the room with silence, the biggest draw for joining the Dingle mafia was to be able to say that you were part of the family because in England there was no one more feared than the Dingle family even in other places of Europe and the States it got them respect. The truth was that they wanted the benefits with none of the family drama but none of them were brave enough to voice it at least not in front of the immediate family.

A lot of the underbosses were old men that had been in power since Aaron’s grandfather first took over and in the organization long before that. So some felt that they had more rights than a newcomer some even thought that the Dingle bloodline was not what it used to and they should be able to earn the title of boss. Much like the French during the French revolution as they got tired of the monarchy, the difference is that unfortunately for them this monarchy fought back.

‘And now for the final touch’

“…We were even thinking of getting married…”

“That is Preposterous!”

One of the old man stood up in outrage unable to take anymore and to the surprise of everyone even Debbie; Aaron effortlessly pulled out a gun and shot the man in the head, it all happened in the span of seconds. The sound of the loud gunshot still rang in the room and everyone’s ears “it’s rude to interrupt when someone else is speaking.” Everyone was too shock to say anything and the Dingles had a rule never to openly oppose the current boss no matter what, in public they had to show a united front.

“Like I was saying we were going to get married before this terrible tragedy happened but then I find out that it wasn’t a tragedy. Someone cut the breaks from his car…”

The declaration was met with a gasp although Aaron could see how some became shifty and sent worried eyes to their dead friend. “…Now Jackson was a saint so I was confused by who would want to kill him but as you know I’m not a saint so it suddenly clicked…they were sending a message to me.” Aaron stopped pacing and stared at the people before him his eyes dark like a storm “well message received.” A brave underboss tried to save face and stood up “we will find who did this travesty and make them regret it.”

Another shot went off and the man was back in his chair except this time with a hole in his chest “oh I know who’s behind this and I know why.” Chas stopped herself from shaking her head as her son killed off people as if they were toy soldiers and that fear she felt about Aaron was back. “See I know that you all had a problem with me being a poof –as you say- so you wanted me out, isn’t that right?”

No one dared speak for fear that they would be the next one to be shot by the brutal man “ISN’T!?”  The scream made them all jump as some even tremble in fear while others were confused in their own fear. “See you all made the mistake of thinking that this is a democracy and that somehow you’re indispensable…” Aaron gave a bone chilling laugh “…everyone can be replaced and the only one with absolute power here is me. Everything you have my family has given to you and I have continued to give to you only for you ungrateful bastards to STAB ME IN THE BLOODY BACK!”

This time Aaron shot again and hit another man in the stomach, the leg and the chest, that one didn’t die instantly like the others. He slowly bleed out in his chair, his eyes pleading to everyone whose eyes he met so that they helped him. Everyone just avoided his eyes as the man died slowly and painfully. No one knew who or when Aaron was going to attack and that made him unpredictable, at this point he had gotten blood splatter all over himself

“Now I want to know whose bright idea it was to bite the hand that fed them.” Again everyone was quiet and Aaron just chuckle “very well, the hard way it is. Bring it in” Some men wheeled a cart with tools that looked like medical devices or torture devices. Everyone’s eyes widen “we have all night and I will get the information I want one way or another.”

“Aaron…”

Chas tried to speak up but suddenly she had a gun pointed at her as her son’s cold eyes stare at her and dared her to oppose him. In those eyes Chas saw that nothing would stop Aaron from pulling the trigger if she openly defied him. “…I need to wake up early to open the pub, do you need me for this.”

Aaron stared at her for a moment but then he signal that she could go. As she walked away she could see the hope die from all the underbosses eyes. She knew that even if she didn’t want her son to become a monster, the family did not forgive traitors and he was within his right to punish them. Chas wasn’t against killing the traitors she was just worried of what it was doing to Aaron especially now that he didn’t have Jackson.

The rest of the family while surprised by Aaron’s brutality weren’t really too affected, they were all born into that world and some had seen worse. They also knew how important it was to teach this lesson and remind everyone to respect them but most of all fear them. As the new comer and being gay Aaron needed to take the respect and fear because it wasn’t going to be given to him base on his name.

“Now I’m going to teach you a very important lesson so pay attention…” He walked over to the cart; one underboss tried to run but was shot in the leg. To everyone’s surprise Aaron wasn’t the one that shot him “that was rude” Debbie coldly declared as the man screamed in pain.

Aaron smirked at his cousin in thanks knowing that she was truly his second and that she would have his back no matter what. He gesture his men to drag the man back “someone just volunteered to go first” at this point the family could smell the urine from a few of the weaker ones that were too terrified to hold it in.

The man was forced down on a chair between the underbosses and the Dingles, Aaron walked over grabbing his hand and chopped off two fingers. “The important lesson is that you never mess with a Dingle. No matter your position you don’t betray a Dingle…” He stab a knife threw the man’s other hand and his screams filled the room.

“Most of all -poof or not- I am King and if you can’t respect me…I WILL MAKE YOU FEAR ME!”

That night everyone saw as Aaron completely lost his humanity as he killed and torture every last one of those against him. Like promised he got the information and found out a rival gang was supporting the plot against him. He got names, places, dates, hell he even got social security numbers. It was the birth of a beast and Cain realized that Chas was right, Jackson had anchor Aaron and with him gone nothing held him back.


The days that followed were hectic as Aaron made sure that the bodies and pieces of the traitors were seen by all those who doubted him. The ones that survived that night told the story of the cruel and merciless boss that torture and killed his own people for betraying him and it filled them with fear. Immediately the new opened positions were filled by people that pledged their loyalty to him. Aaron made sure to reward those that were loyal and ratted out those involve in the conspiracy and demonstrated their loyalty to him and the family.

Soon Aaron’s sexuality was no longer important or relevant; he had proved himself a Dingle, he became the most dangerous one. The bigots left the mafia not wanting to work under a poof but soon tried to run back when they realized that being with the Dingles offered them protection and made them practically untouchable. Most ended up dead or in jail after Aaron took his protection away and he made sure that they had a time they would never forget.

“See if they like being a poof.”

Together with Debbie they marked a new era for the Dingle family bringing them more respect from other families even making alliances with other mafias around the world, they also got fear from everyone who knew of them even high ranking officials. Debbie was even able to put some of their people within the royal family’s household, they had one even closed to the Queen “just in case.” Debbie turned out to be calculating and fearless, a brilliant strategist which balanced Aaron’s short tempered and idealist nature perfectly.

A few months later

Most of all the family and their allies had more money than they could count, Mandy decided to travel the world in luxury after her marriage with Paddy dissolved. Debbie fixed up a house for Sarah and Jack (AN: making them twins because…I said so) and hired them a nanny that was also a highly trained bodyguard. Andy had not been happy but he couldn’t do anything since he couldn’t really provide for the children.

“I’m providing for my children”

“With dirty money!” Everyone knew that the Dingles were dodgy but no one mention it out loud assuming that they merely did petty crimes.

“The moment you can provide for them and give them the life they deserve that is the moment you can talk until then be grateful that someone can.”

After that Andy had gone on one of his benders which Katie used to get in his good books but Debbie didn’t care when she saw the smiles on her children’s eyes as their nanny taught them how to draw and braided Sarah’s hair like she liked. Everyone was content as things began to settle down and return to normal, a new and better normal.

Adam became Aaron’s consigliere under Debbie but above the underbosses much like Moira had been for Cain. This was just basically an advisor, assistant and middle man that made sure that Aaron knew everything that was going on. Aaron had officially changed his last name to Dingle and still lived with his mother in the Woolpack after she begged him to stay claiming that she still wanted a chance to build their relationship more.

The truth was that Chas wanted to keep an eye on him because she was worried; she could see that without Jackson to anchor him he was back to being cold, short tempered and efficiently cruel. She was scared that her son would turned into a monster, many people were comparing him to Abraham Dingle as if that were high praise but Chas knew that for all of Abe’s brilliance and innovation there came a darkness. He was cruel and often heartless; his body count rivalled no other boss in history so far, some even believed that he wasn’t human but Chas knew the truth which was that he was a psychopath.

‘I never wanted that for Aaron’

She hoped that he would find another Jackson that could anchor him once more before he lost his humanity. She urged Adam to take him out but while Aaron spend the night away he never brought anyone back or talked about anyone, more importantly she never saw that smile he gave Jackson. She was worried that much like the ancestor that he was compared to Aaron would soon become more beast than man.

Chapter Text

More beast than man

It’s very hard to get over the loss of a love one, everyone grieves in different ways. There was no time limit or restrictions, to some it takes months but to others it took years. There are some that never recover; they just become shells of their former selves. They walk through life just barely surviving or punishing others for their own misery and pain. Chas was beginning to think that her son was one of those people; Aaron had not been the same since Jackson’s death. Chas had hoped that with time her son would heal and returned to being how he once was but it never happened.

It has been a year and a few months since Jackson was murdered and she rarely saw her son smile, he would smirk in amusement when he was with Adam but never smile. Although the family business had never been better, no one dared to challenge them, in fact people still whispered about how Aaron ruthlessly torture and killed most of his underbosses without so much as flitching for even daring to think of planning a coup against him and killing his partner.

No one cared that Aaron was gay anymore, in fact from what Cain has told her, rival gangs send male honey pots to get in Aaron’s bed hoping to get information to use against him. So far her son had yet to fall for them instead their bodies were found by the police, dead on the side of the road or even thrown on doorsteps. Allied families send over sons and male family members to try and form an alliance with Aaron which her son denied much more diplomatically ‘who would’ve thought he could hold his temper back.’ Chas was positive that the families’ alliance with them was the only thing that stopped Aaron from doing worse.

Aaron lean on the railing high above Hotten overlooking the young people take over the streets and enjoy its night life, it wasn’t London or New York but the city was filled with life and to Aaron’s fortune a booming gay scene. The street lights were on illuminating the drunks stumbling around and the women with their friends who dressed up for a night out.

While most businesses were closed, the bars and pubs were wide open as well as some restaurants. Aaron could almost hear the music coming from the places; the warm weather was just coming so a lot of places had chairs outside so he could see the chatter and laughter. He couldn’t help but think of Jackson and how much he would’ve loved it, he would’ve been pushing Aaron to go downstairs and socialize.

“You can’t be a grump all the time.”

The wound that the man’s death left behind was still fresh despite the time and every time it tried to heal Aaron added salt not letting it closed because he didn’t deserve the relief ‘it was my fault he was gone, if he had never met me…’ He knew what he was doing wasn’t healthy but he couldn’t remember a time when he ever was from his abonnement issues to his low self-worth and self-esteem to his anger issues brought about the abuse his own father put him through.

For a brief moment he got a flash of that night, the night that everything inside him snapped and to this day he doesn’t regret it because the man stopped being his father a long time ago and Aaron stopped feeling clean or human since the night it first happened. ‘Not a good feeling for a little kid to feel, yea I was never healthy not going to start now.’

He pulled a nicely wrapped blunt up to his mouth taking a hit and holding it for a moment before blowing out; he closed his eyes and turned his head to the sky letting the magic little medicine take effect. He had never been much of a smoker but a few months ago they had allied with a family in Amsterdam and as a gift they had given him some of their weed along with cheese.

His mother and Marlon loved the cheese and serve it at the pub because it brought a lot of new business “makes us seem fancy and cultured” Aaron just rolled his eyes and let them enjoy cheese that to him smelled disgusting but he did take a liking to the weed. At first he wasn’t going to try it but Adam ever the little devil on his shoulders convinced him to give it a chance.

“Come on mate, I heard that this thing relaxes you…”

He had been in so much pain since Jackson that he caved easily and it worked, for a few hours he felt his mind just slow down and his body relaxed. All the anger, hate and resentment he always felt just muffled like listening to something while under water.  At first he wanted to do it all time because he wanted that peace but then he was having a hard time paying attention or doing his job “Aaron, what the fuck!? We make money off of addicts not become ones ourselves. Get your shit together! You know everyone is just looking for you to fail.” Debbie had torn him a new one after the fourth time of him showing up high to meetings.

And as much as he wanted to put her in her place, he knew that she was doing her job as his second so he stopped himself. He went back to dealing with his pain by killing and beating others up, he left the weed for his down time. After he had calmed the beast down with sex, he relaxed the emotions with a good blunt. “So this is where you’re at, the bed was getting cold without you.” Aaron’s droopy eyes turned to a man standing in the door of the balcony.

For a brief moment he wondered who the man was until he remembered that he picked him up at a bar. His eyes reminded Aaron of Jackson so in a moment of weakness he invited the man to his place, Aaron usually tended to stay away from men that reminded him of his boyfriend. There was no doubt the man was handsome with a six pack that spoke of hours in the gym, he had strong legs that had been wrapped around Aaron’s waist a while ago ‘how long have I been out here.’

“You know that’s not good for you…”

“What the hell are you still doing here?”

“…” The man was thrown off by the cold tone and harsh words before glaring at Aaron when he realized what was happening and what a prat Aaron was being.

“You over stayed your welcome, get out before I throw you out.”

“You’re a real prat…” Aaron ignored the man turning back to the city not even acknowledging his presence “…arsehole!”

Aaron continued to enjoy his blunt and let it relax him; he heard the cursing and rustling as he guessed the man got dressed. His shoulders were tensed until he heard the door slam loudly; if he hadn’t been high he would probably have taught ‘no name’ some manners. Once he finished his blunt he walked in inside; the flat was unlike anything in Emmerdale, it was modern and clean open concept with a slick island/breakfast bar separating the dining area from the kitchen. While the dining area stood in between the kitchen and the living area with the sliding doors to the balcony in the dining area.

The place had two bedrooms and a bath which Aaron decided he needed before turning in for the night to get some sleep, hoping that the weed kept the nightmares away. He passed the second bedroom which he used as an office and entered the slick marble bathroom. The flat was his one and only splurge since becoming boss.

It was his little escape that only Debbie and Adam knew about, it was the place where he let himself think of all his mistakes and failures. The place where when he was alone he could be a weak and simple human going through life, his personal guards had flats in the buildings to keep a close eye on him when he wasn’t in the pub.

Emmerdale was a safe haven created by them and run by them, there was no need for guards there as a few workers around the village that already worked for him. He let the hot water run down his body and stood under the spray until his skin began to turn red, he never felt clean no matter how many times he shower. It was only the sound of his phone that pushed the memories away and made him get out; his people knew that when he was in the flat they were to leave him alone unless it was a matter of life and death.

“The IP took our presents.”

“Damn it!”

Either the drug was wearing off or his anger was too great, it was a text from Adam who had been left in charge while Debbie also spend time with the kids since they assumed it would be a quiet night. He should’ve known since they had been having some issues with the INTERPOL who was starting to become a nuisance for Aaron. They didn’t have someone on the inside since their operation was mainly based in England but now that they were branching out they were having more trouble with other law agencies.

There allies had helped them with the local police but the INTERPOL was different since they had no alliance to one country or at least weren’t controlled by one country. He already had people in MI-6 so it wouldn’t be hard to have one of them apply to a position with INTERPOL “or maybe I should just buy someone already in?” Aaron thought as he got dressed knowing that he was defiantly not going to be able to leave this for tomorrow.

‘Might have to fly out to Vienna’


Adam loved his job not because he liked breaking the law or he liked power but because he liked the security and control it gave him. He could change the things that were wrong; he could help the little guy that was often screwed over by the government and the legal system. He also liked working with his best friend and brother because despite what others may say or what Aaron might do, the man will always be one of the most important people in his life after his mum and Holly. Recently someone else had been added to that list, his future wife Victoria Sugden ‘I haven’t proposed and we just started dating but still I can feel it.’

He had found the woman’s kindness and cheerful disposition absolutely refreshing while her long coffee colored hair and sweet hazel green eyes were breathtaking. He had never felt more lucky than the day she accepted to go on a date with him. After she got through her rebellious phase the young woman revealed a sweet and devoted person that would do anything for those she loved. Victoria had been very hesitant when she found out Aaron was his best friend and that Adam worked for him.

Like the rest of the village she had heard the rumors about the Dingles being bad news, that Aaron like his whole lot was a no good thug. Thankfully he was able to convince her and Aaron had made sure to show a calmer almost nice side around the woman. He is so grateful that his best friend was willing to do that for him and he hoped that when he married Victoria he would be able to tell her the truth and by then her love for him would be greater than her anger.

“Hey babe, how’s your day?” He walked over and kissed his girlfriend on her cheek ‘I need to make it official especially before I go to Vienna.’

“Today has been great, Marlon finally let me helped out in the kitchen, of course I’m only helping with stirring and cutting.”

“That’s awesome! I mean you have to start somewhere right?”

“I mean I guess…”

“I know in no time you will be running the kitchen because you’re amazing.”

“You think so?”

“I know so!”

Victoria smiled at her grinning boyfriend ‘although technically his not my boyfriend yet’ her cheeks blushed with affection and joy. Adam always knew how to make her feel better; he always knew what to say and when to say it. He reminded her of her older half-brother Robert, despite being young when he was in the village Victoria remembers how he always made her smile. It had broken her heart when he had just left without saying goodbye but she had a feeling that there was much more to the story than anyone would tell her.

‘The person they described does not match the big brother I remember.’

Since dating Adam she has been thinking about her big brother more and more “you’ll never hate me right Vic? You won’t be like all the others?” Those words were the one clear memory she had of Robert; she remembered seeing his red eyes almost pleading at her to love him with a painful smile. Don’t get her wrong Victoria loved Andy but he was the serious older brother, he was more likely to follow the rules and listen to their father like his words were gospel.

Robert wasn’t the same, much like her Robert was rebellious and carefree. He never let others’ opinion stop him from living his life; he challenged their father and never backed down. She remembered how once he snuck her out of school and took her to a fair a few miles away that she wanted to go to and her father had said no to. “What is life without a few risk…” He had smirked at her with a devious glint in his eyes.

To this day that was one of the best days of her life, it was worth the scolding that they got from their father and Diane. Robert got the worst of it but he took it all in stride “he is sick in the head Diane! There is something wrong with that boy, he is not normal!” Victoria had remembered hearing their father and Diane argue long into the night, she had never understood what her father meant because to her Robert was so much fun.

Her big brother always had great ideas “let’s go to the ice cream shop and try all flavors of ice cream!” he always had so much energy to play with her and told her the best stories. A few weeks after the fair her big brother left the village without a saying goodbye, his departure and her father’s death later might have contribute to her rebellious phase.

“That’s just the way he is, Robert cares about no one but himself.” It was the only consolation that Andy gave her.

“Vic did you hear me?”

“What…?”

“Are you okay?”

“Yea just got lost walking down memory lane” She smiled at her worried boyfriend placing her hand on his cheek wanting to see the bright grin back on his face. “What were you saying?” she changed the subject not ready to speak about her older brother. “I was wondering if you were free tonight…” Vic’s eyes shined at the question “what’s tonight?” Adam seemed nervous and that worried and excited Victoria at the same time.

“Well, something happened at one of our other offices so I have to go with Aaron to help fix it so I thought we could go out tonight before I headed out.”

“I will teach you an important life lesson you will need to deal with men, if a man is vague and brief that means their hiding something. It could be good or bad but their eyes would usually tell, sometimes you can see the guilt in them or a devious glint.”

She remembers Robert’s words one night that they stayed up late while everyone slept three days before he left, Adam was always vague about his job and when she asked questions or  when he willingly gave her information it was all very brief. So she knew that he was hiding something about his job, that there was more to it than he would say. Unfortunately she had yet to learned how to read their eyes, Robert didn’t get to teach her that lesson.

“Where are you going?”

“Vienna”

“Vienna? As in Austria!?”

“Yea, it’s a relatively new office. One of our employees was moving over there and Aaron saw an opportunity to start an international branch.”

“Wow! That’s brilliant!”

“I helped out too you know…” Adam pouted which made Victoria smiled affectionately at the man.

“Of course you did my brilliant businessman.” She kissed his cheek making sure to linger slightly “and of course I’m free tonight.”


Vienna, Austria

Aaron hated Vienna, the place felt poncy and posh with old charm that made him feel out of place like a peasant in a palace. “This place is great! I have to bring Vic over, she’ll love it” Adam exclaimed by his side contradicting Aaron’s thoughts and making him roll his eyes. “You can bring her here for your nonexistent honeymoon” Adam rolled his eyes while Aaron smirked “laugh now, I’ll be the one laughing on our wedding day.” Aaron laughed as their car passed the famous Schonbrunn palace.

“I told you Adam we are never getting together, you should move on. I know I’m hard to get over but Vic is a nice girl…”

“You think your funny mate? You’re the one in love with me.”

The two friends bantered back and forth as the car took them to their hotel which was unfortunately for Aaron in the posh city center. He wanted to take care of this problem and go home to Emmerdale where he could wear his hoodies and old trainers and enjoy a pint and be left alone. He hated big cities because there were too many people and that meant there were more possibility of someone not being scared away my his ‘grumpy’ face as Adam called it.

Adam loved Vienna; he looked at every store thinking about what to take his official girlfriend “Vic, will you do me the honor of being my girlfriend…officially.” He had been so nervous and it felt like hours until Victoria smiled “it’s about time, of course I’ll be your girlfriend.” She had pouted when he left so he wanted to bring her something to make up for it. He saw a sign for some Mozart chocolates which he saw everyone buy.

‘Might get her some of those, she loves chocolate.’

First he had to be Aaron’s Consigliere; they immediately headed over to meet their contact who had been in charge of the transaction. The man was clearly terrify as a blank face Aaron walked in, his friend was in a dark red three piece suit “it hides blood better” with his hair gelled over he looked like a 50s gangster without the hat and machine gun.

“I want to know what happened and I want to know who fucked up”

They all looked at each other nervously not sure what they should and shouldn’t say; Adam saw some of the soldiers looking at the man in charge with dubious stares. The man in question was practically shaking as sweat rolled down his neck, Adam knew who had fucked up and he made sure to send Aaron a subtle sign with his eyes. “I am investigating as we speak, boss” the man in charge spoke in English, his voice held a heavy accent.

“I can assure you that whoever is behind this will be punished severely.”

Most soldiers rolled their eyes at the hypocrisy of the man who they knew would most likely try to throw one of them under the train.  They all wondered who it would be; they knew what they were getting into so they each had said their goodbyes to their families. Suddenly following a loud bang their leader was on the floor withering in pain as his leg bled. They all looked up to see the young boss holding a gun and looking unimpressed.

“Now who wants to tell me the truth before my bullets find a place in your skulls?”

Adam wasn’t surprised that Aaron lost patience and spilled blood but he was surprised that his friend used a gun; he preferred to use his hands to release tension. “Sir…I…” The bleeding man tried to plead, his tone full of surprise “shut up!” Aaron turned to the soldiers and pointed his gun at one of them “you…talk now!” The poor young man was practically shaking in fear; he looked down at the underboss on the floor who tried to threaten him with his eyes.

“AAAARGH!!!!”

The man screamed as Aaron stepped on his wound “I’m losing my patience” Aaron exclaimed as he looked down at the bleeding man. “It was Juliane, she was an undercover…” The bloke spit out as his self-preservation became stronger than his fear for the bleeding man. “Who is Juliane?” Aaron asked dangerously “she’s the boss’ woman” a man spoke out “yea, he met her at the Klub that night.” Another man added, it was almost as if a dam broke in that moment “oh yea, that was a week ago” a younger man added almost as an after through.

“How would she know about our operation?”

“The boss has a weakness for pretty eyes”

“And big breast”

“He also likes to brag to impress them, remember that time with the girl in Graz?”

“Oh yea, he told that girl…”

Everyone was talking more than needed desperate to safe their own lives but it also seemed to Adam as if they had all been holding all the gossip back for so long that finally being given the okay to talk they just let it spill. It was like they were not just pushing the man that had been their leader under the bus but they were tying him up to it so he doesn’t run away while digging his grave on the side.

“You told some cow you just met about our operation?”

“No sir, I didn’t know but I promise…”

Aaron shot the man on his other leg “AAAAH!” and stepped on the wound “was she INTERPOL?” the Dingle asked the soldiers “yes.” The answer was far more timid and quiet as fear grew within them. “Aaron we have to take care of this INTERPOL issue” Adam deviated Aaron’s attention not to safe the bleeding man but just to speed things up because the longer they waited the more time INTERPOL had to create a plan against them. Aaron seemed to think about it before shooting the man in an eye living him alive “anyone touches him and I will cut them up and make sure your families follow you after.”

It took him less than an hour to bleed out and as Aaron realized how much of a headache the man cause Aaron wished he had made the pain last longer. In the end they had bought a few officers on the inside, small pawns that could keep him informed but not do much for him. So Aaron had one of his new pawns proof their loyalty by dropping the documents of one of his MI-6 agents so that the right people saw it and offered her a position.

Emma spoke German fluently and was one of the best agents in the angency but it wouldn’t look right if she applied for the position so Aaron found a way to get her recommended. The woman was happy for the move as her husband was of Austrian descent and wanted to move closer to his parents. It was a slower con and he would have to wait until Emma was contacted, in the meantime the smaller pawns will have to be enough to keep them inform for any raids or undercover agents.

“This branch will lay low, go back to smaller crimes until we can secure the INTERPOL.”

He had ordered his soldiers and placed a Russian born woman in charged, Anja was a mystery that inspired fear in the man. They called her the ‘man killer’ because she tended to be short tempered when dealing with sexist and misogynistic men. She didn’t have the Russian accent since she grew up in Austria but she had the same dark look in her eyes that Aaron did.

“Once Emma takes control you know the first thing you must do?”

Ja, destroy flower that dared cross into your garden.”

Aaron simple smirk at the woman it was for him as close to saying ‘good job’ as he would get, it was a sign that he was pleased and that she impressed him. Anja wanted to grin like a school girl because Aaron Dingle was known in their world as a ruthless yet brilliant man that would never hesitate to kill those who pissed him off and it was usually always a slow death. His approval meant that at least for the time being she was safe, everyone knew that if Aaron Dingle was happy with you then you were not only safe but you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

‘The man might be ruthless but he knew how to take care of those that were competent and loyal to him.’


After killing a few more people that were loyal to the old underboss, Aaron finally relented and let Adam drag him souvenir shopping. He had let out some steam after killing a few people and so far Anja seemed to have control of things. Aaron was in an even better mood because Emma called him and told him that she got contacted by INTERPOL. They had schedule a meeting so they could talk about something that they wouldn’t tell her over the phone.

They were in a candy store that was literally called Vienna Candy Shop which was not the most grammatically correct name, they were looking for candy for Vic despite having a huge package of the famous Mozart chocolate balls (AN: These are real, had them in Vienna and absolutely love them and that is coming from someone who doesn’t really like chocolate.) The store was filled with kids and families which made Aaron’s eye twitch at the loud and sugar high monsters running around. Although it was obvious that the store was high end because the chaos wasn’t as bad as it could be. Adam’s eyes shined like the little kid in a candy store he was “I want this and this, I know she’ll love this as well…”Aaron left his best friend to practically buy the whole store and give Vic cavities.

He was drawn to some darker looking chocolates that the kids were mostly ignoring probably because they were too high for them, he tasted one and was surprised that it seemed to be alcoholic. “Hmm” It was actually good so he took a bag and put some in it, he also saw some candy that looked like shiny silver balls instead of actual candy. He decided to take some chocolates for Sarah and Jack while getting some for Debbie and Chas so that maybe the woman would get of his case.

‘Maybe the fact that I’m actually wasting my time in getting her a present would proof I’m human and she would stop expecting me to massacre the whole village.’

Looking around for Adam his eyes landed on the only other adult enjoying himself like a child in a candy store, it was a tall man with blond hair that was like wheat being hit by the sun. The man had about five bags and was filling another one, he almost looked like a kid that was told he could have anything he wanted and as much as he wanted so he was rushing in case his parents changed their minds.

Aaron’s eyes followed down the broad back to a nicely shaped arse that made him bite his lips; he wouldn’t mine tasting the more natural delicacies of Vienna. “Aaron, look at these” Adam’s voice snapped him out of admiring long legs that went on for days, his best friend was by the back and waving over to him like a mad man. Aaron walked over before the idiot drew everyone’s attention especially the hot blond.

“What is it? Did you buy the whole store?”

Aaron exclaimed as he saw the big bag in Adam’s hand with candy it was almost as big as the one the blond had. “They have so much good stuff here. I have some for mum, Holly, Vic and Finn.” Aaron rolled his eyes while he paid for his smaller and normal bundle, as the cashier charged him he looked around for the tall blond and saw him in front of a different barrel with a basket in his hand this time.

‘Hot but I can’t image what his mouth looks like with all that candy.’

The rest of their time Aaron found himself following the blond with his eyes trying to get a look at his face but it got a lot busier so it became harder. “Okay I’m ready, let’s go” Adam told him before walking towards the door, as they left Aaron was so busy listening to Adam ramble that he missed the blond man walking by him. He did stop when the scent of a rich yet posh cologne as well as sweets hit him, it made him shiver so he turned to see the broad back of the tall blond walking to the cashier with his basket full of candy.

The scent screamed of a subtle dominance, someone that didn’t need to be loud to be heard, whose strength was not obvious yet no less dangerous. Aaron wanted that man; he was already half hard and if it wasn’t for Adam nothing would’ve stopped him. “Come on Aaron, I want to go to that noddle place before the flight, you can pull any day.” His best friend’s words made him turn back only to glare at the grinning man “shut up muppet and eat your candy.”

The two friends walked away from the store but Aaron looked back one last time before following a laughing Adam. As they left the tall blond came out the store with bags of candy and a huge grin completely unaware. He took some gummies filling his mouth and smiled like a kid that was allowed to eat candy by his strict parents. ‘I should buy Peritas some treats as an apology for leaving him in the flat’ he looked around at all the stores almost making a list in his head of all the things Peritas would like.

“Robert! There you are, did you not hear your phone!? I’ve been calling you…”

“…”

“What is all this? Candy? Are you serious!? Sometimes I think dad is right about you being an immature child.” The woman shook her head as the smile disappeared from the man’s face and his pure and innocent joy was gone.

“You know I have a weakness for sweets…”

“I swear you’re a child, come on let’s go!”


Chas had been happy when her son gave her some chocolates from Vienna, the fact that he thought about her while on a trip made her feel like there was still some hope. “Chas what do you have there?” She turned to see a smiling Paddy walking over to her, since divorcing Mandy the man had mostly kept away from the Dingles. Although he had developed a close bond with Aaron being the first that the younger man admitted his sexuality to and as such assuring that he became part of Aaron’s inner circle.

The two hadn’t been closed at first but the gentle man caught her crying one night and she hadn’t been able to hold back so she just spilled everything. He comforted her and expressed his own worries about Aaron closing off his walls emotionally. “He’s not a psychopath; he is just in pain and doesn’t know how to deal with it.” Ever since then they continued to bond over Aaron and developed a strange yet comforting friendship. “Aaron brought me chocolates from his trip” Paddy immediately understood the implications of such a development; it was the reason Chas enjoyed speaking to him.

‘I never have to explain myself or convince him of anything.’

“That’s a good sign, right? You thought he hated you or just didn’t care, this proofs that’s not truth.”

Chas had remembered that conversation when she cried in the man’s arms “I’m a horrible mother, he hates me because I abandon him with his father…” It had been after Charity had jokingly asked Aaron why he didn’t really called Chas mum “that’s a title you earn, it’s not just given to you because you gave birth.”

The words had felt like a dagger to her heart and not even Charity defending her took the pain away. She had ran to Paddy in tears but the man made her tea and knew just what to say even though he stuttered through it. “He doesn’t hate you, He’s gu..gutt…angry so you can’t expect t..to have a good relationship right away. Ga..gai…win his respect and love, I know you can…”

Since that moment Paddy had been her go to instead of Cain unless it was pertaining the family business, the massive man was understanding and patient with her. She couldn’t see why Mandy left him although at the same time thinking of the woman she could see how the two wouldn’t work out. “Yea, I guess it does. I still think that he needs an anchor” She had told Paddy her idea that Jackson anchored Aaron’s darker side and he needed that once more. “So what? You want to play matchmaker.”

Paddy joked but he could see as the idea took form in Chas’ head and he felt sorry for Aaron as his mother decided to be invested in his love life. He could see how that idea would bite Chas back, no son wanted their mother involve in their love life let alone their sex life. Paddy could only see this plan getting Chas in more trouble with Aaron and make the young man angrier at her but he didn’t want to be the one to take Chas’ smile.

Chas was not discouraged by Paddy’s pessimism instead she got Charity in on her plan to help her find the perfect match for Aaron “love, are you sure that’s a good idea?” Even Charity the queen of reckless and bad ideas asked her; it was a sign that maybe she should stop while she was ahead but she ignored it. Her fear of Aaron becoming a monster was much greater, Chas was positive that this was the only way she could make it up to her son even if only a little.

“You have seen how he is Charity, he needs this…” Charity seemed to soften “…besides it’s not like we will pick for him, we’ll just give him options.”

“Okay luv, you know I’m down for whatever.”


2 weeks later

Their first idea took life in the form of a LGBT night at the pub; Chas’ used the proud mum to a gay son excuse when asked. They made sure to advertise it to the surrounding areas but even then the turn out wasn’t that great. Aaron didn’t look too please at being force to be there by his mother and even ended up leaving early with a glare on his face and not returning until the next day. Chas had been sad and disappointed that her plan had not work and instead Aaron would probably be cross with her.

“What can you expect, there isn’t much of a scene in such a rural area and those in Hotten will have better options than an old pub in the middle of nowhere.”

“Hey! Watch it, the Woolpack isn’t an old pub…”

“If you say so”

“…but I see what you mean.”

Chas felt discourage but she wasn’t willing to give up, every time she heard Aaron brutally kill someone else she realized the urgency of her self-appointed mission. “Why don’t you just hook him up with another gay man in the village” Charity had meant it as a joke since there really were any gay men in the village but Chas remembered hearing how Finn Barton had recently come out. Finn kind of reminded her of Jackson with his softness and gentle soul, Finn would be the perfect new anchor for Aaron.

“That’s a great idea! But how will I go about it?”


A few months later

Andy felt so happy, Katie and he had been through a lot including his own brother getting in between them but finally they were getting their happy ending. Thinking of darker times made him think about Robert, his adoptive brother had been gone for a few years but his mark was still felt in the family. Robert was like a scar that wouldn’t heal that they had learned to ignore and live with but it was still there.

Sometimes Andy wondered how it went wrong, they used to be best friends and in fact he had a family thanks to Robert and he will always be grateful to him for that. After he was adopted Robert became jealous of the attention that Andy was getting making the tall boy resentful of him. Andy knew that in part it was his fault, he was so grateful that he tried to win Jack’s approval so that he would never regret his decisions and throw him out. He admits at least to himself that he purposely saw the way Robert acted and listened to the arguments between father and son so that he could do and become everything Jack wanted of Robert.

Andy turned himself into the ideal son unconsciously making Robert look worse in comparison; he loved all the attention and affection from his new father so much that he got swept away in Jack’s disappointment in Robert; he wanted to be just like his father.

Soon he found himself critiquing and judging the younger man although he felt guilty every time he saw the hurt in Robert’s eyes but once Jack smiled at him or laughed that thought was forgotten. Jack’s love was more important than Robert’s friendship because while Robert brought him into the family, Jack had the power to kick him out ‘much like he later did to his own flesh and blood son.’ A part of Andy always wanted to fix their relationship, to gain that friendship back but when the fire happened and Sarah died Andy knew that any trace of that burned as well.

That night he cried not only for the loss of the woman that had become like his mother but for the loss of his best friend and brother. Robert had been the only one to always support him no matter what and always see more in him than even he saw in himself. “Andy you’re brilliant, don’t listen to them. Use their words as incentive and then when we’re successful we’ll come back and throw it in their face.” Andy had always been tease for never been smart but Robert had always comforted him and even included him on all his future plans to take over the world.

After Robert’s affair with Katie, Andy felt less guilty over their ruined relationship. He convinced himself that what Robert did was just as bad even though deep down he knew that Robert hadn’t rape Katie and no matter how charming or convincing the boy was he couldn’t make someone do something that they didn’t wanted to do. ‘It takes two…’ He pushed the thought away like he always did when it tried to come up.

That was why he was glad when his father made Robert leave; the man only caused chaos and confusion. He managed to make everything worst, it’s almost as if he were made of fire and everything he touched burn. Looking around the table at the Sugden family dinner Andy smiled at seeing the three women in his life smiling and talking together. ‘It was for the best, we don’t really need him any ways” He couldn’t help but think as he joined the conversation which turns out was about the wedding preparations.

‘The Sugdens were just fine the way they are.’


After months of brainstorming the answer to Chas prayers came when Andy and Katie announced their engagement, a wedding was the perfect time to bring them together. Both men will need a date and they were the only option in the village, all she had to figure out was how to convince Aaron. ‘Maybe I don’t need to convince Aaron’ She thought at Finn walked into the pub with hunch shoulders and lowered head ‘not a lot of confidence but I guess being loved by someone might helped.’

“Hey Finn, what’ll you have?”

“Oh just a pint please” Chas turned around with a grin on her face ‘so polite! He will be perfect.’

“Here you go. How’s everything?” Finn looked around confused by the woman’s sudden interest in him.

“Um…fine?” Finn wanted the conversation to be over because the Dingles terrified him especially Cain, Chas, Charity and Aaron.

“Boyfriend okay?” Chas was never one for subtly so she went right to the point because she didn’t want to waste time.

“I don’t have a boyfriend…” The boy looked almost ashamed as if the whole village expected him to have one by now, like he wasn’t fulfilling his purpose and Chas tried to seem sympathetic but on the inside Chas could not help but jump in glee.

“Oh look at that my Aaron doesn’t have a boyfriend either maybe you should go out to drinks and get to know each other.”

Finally Finn realized why the woman was suddenly interested in him; she didn’t really care about him. It was all about her son and finding him a boyfriend most likely Finn was the only available candidate. He should turn back but he wanted a boyfriend and there was no denying that Aaron was hot but he always though the serious man was way out of his league ‘there is also the me being terrify thing.’ “I don’t think I’m Aaron’s type.” The self-doubt hit him as he thought of someone like Aaron dating a nerd like him.

“Nonsense I know for a fact that you are definitely his type.” Chas claimed thinking about Finn’s similarities to Jackson.

“Really!?”

“Yes, it has been proven before.”

Finn felt hopeful for the first time since coming out as gay and the whole crush on David came out, maybe he was finally going to have someone that looks at him like Adam looks at Vic. Chas was celebrating the future union because she knew that her son will finally balance out and go back to being the grumpy yet happy boy he was with Jackson. She was so excited she forget that Aaron wasn’t known for doing what others told him, she also didn’t think about the fact that Aaron might not want to date someone so similar to his dead boyfriend.

‘This would be perfect! Nothing could go wrong.’


Across the village in the vacant Home Farm that once belonged to the Dingles a car stopped in front of the massive manor overlooking a wide open estate. The back door opened and out walked an older man with white hair and a poncy scowl on his face that made him look like he was constantly judging everyone as if they were dirty beneath his designer shoes. The other side opened and a teenager with a typical teen angst ‘I hate my life’ look in his eyes walked out looking around upset at what he saw.

He was followed by a German Sheppard that immediately ran over to the driver side ignoring the glare the teen sent it and waiting patiently. “At least you found something worthy of our family…” the old man spoke looking at the manor and massive estate that seemed like something out of a historical drama and a fairytale at the same time with its light brick and tall windows; an elegant and posh woman stepped out of the passenger side with a smile on her “of course I did daddy, did you expect any less of me.”

There was a playfulness to her voice as she walked over and threw her arm over the teen’s shoulder with an affectionate look in her eyes despite the boy shrugging it off, the two look similar enough to be mother and son. The old man fixed an unimpressed look to the driver side which opened as well “you have recently proven to have questionable taste.” The woman rolled her eyes as a tall blond man walked out of the car. The man petted the German Sheppard by his side with a smile on his face ignore the old man’s jabs.

His grey/blue eyes looked around the land with the nostalgia of a person returning home for the first time and not being sure whether he wanted to stay or run away. He could image a little blond boy running up and down these fields avoiding work on the family farm. The bright green summers and the white cold winters, the warm homemade cookies and a mother’s home cooked meal. He could also see the memory of a small blond little girl that followed him everywhere like a little duckling following her mother.

But he also saw the bad, the screaming and disappointed father and the envious best friend turned brother. He remembered fire and the screams of the only person that truly loved him, the race that ended it all as well as the looks of judgement and distaste from everyone and a part of him knew he accepted to return for that. He wanted to proof to everyone that despite their lack of faith and their rejection of him, he survived on his own and made a great life for himself.

‘See that dad, I didn’t need you and I was better off for not having you in my life’ some day he will believe those words enough to say them out loud.

“Robert! Hurry up it’s getting cold out here.”

‘For now at least I could pretend. Look at me now dad I got the life you wanted me to have, are you finally proud of me?’

Robert turned to the dog that gave him a whine almost worried about him and was looking up at him with so much love; Robert smiled knowing that at least he had one faithful devoted companion in his life that would never willingly leave him.

“Come on Peritas, let’s go inside. I’m defiantly going to need you for this trip.”

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Robert couldn’t sleep, his mind wouldn’t shut up and it kept him tossing and turning. Chrissie wasn’t the nicest person when she was woken up so he got up and walked out of the room, Peritas immediately got up from his place lying on the door to their room where Chrissie demanded he sleep because she didn’t want him in the bed or the room. “Robert we’re engage, we need privacy. If you spoil them too much they become insubordinate.” He wanted to say ‘like your son,’ it was at the tip on his tongue but he rather avoid the argument it would bring.

Chrissie never understood that Peritas wasn’t a regular dog, he wasn’t just a pet but then again Chrissie was one of those that didn’t believe in mental health issues and thought that he should just man up. Looking around the still empty house Robert realized he had everything he wanted, everything that would’ve made his father proud ‘then why do I feel so empty? Like such a failure’ Peritas whine got his attention and he smiled at his faithful companion.

“You’re the only one that truly cares about me…” Robert got on his knees and the German Sheppard hid his face on Robert’s neck and snuggling to him “…you’re the only one that doesn’t want to change me, who loves me flaws and all.”

Robert didn’t cry, outside his condition Robert hasn’t cry in a long time ‘definitely not healthy’ but he felt a sadness overcome him together with the self-hate that only his father knew how to plant inside his head. He knew coming back to the village he was born and raised in would be hard but his need to proof himself was far greater. “Being back has really messed me up…” He thought about seeing his family again “…good thing my meds are finally stable, I really hope it stays that way.”

He walked over to the kitchen not really expecting for find any food but at least there he wouldn’t be in the middle of the house and could hide in a corner with Peritas. Robert looked around; the house was more of a manor in its grandeur. It’s the place Robert always saw himself in except he expected that he would be the one to buy it with his own money. Robert didn’t realize the importance of money until he was alone in the streets.

Those years were dark and painful until he got enough money by begging around to go to his gran’s place in Barcelona. The woman welcomed him with open arms and sorrowful smile, she had been furious. Annie Sugden was big on family she had wanted to call her son to tear him a new one but Robert begged her not to. She was the only thing that kept him going and in fact she was the one that figured out that something was wrong with him while everyone just assumed he was just a bad egg and the only one who knew about his diagnosis.

In Barcelona he had learned that those who had money were cunning and scrupulous, they schemed and used people like pawns in a chess piece. If he wanted money he needed to become ruthless and unattached. He never wanted to feel the way he felt when people would turn to him in disgust as he begged for their money or ignored him, he didn’t want to go back to strangers offering him money for things he didn’t even want to think about.

By the time he started working for the Whites, Robert had pulled himself up he had put himself through school ‘with gran’s help’ and had gotten a job under an American businessman that was a great mentor. So he had built up his confidence in his own abilities plus his natural charm was enough to have Chrissie flirting with him on the first day. At first Robert just wanted to play with her, Chrissie was just like the girls that would turned their nose up at him for being poor.

“Ewww, did you really think I was serious!? Oh please, I’m a diamond and you are trash. We will never mix!”

He wanted to get back at them through her; the more he got to know her the more he realized he was right. Chrissie was strong and independent which he found attractive but she was also controlling and he didn’t like being restrained. “What are you doing down here?” he looked up to see his fiancé at the entrance of the kitchen looking displease ‘exhibit a.’ the woman constantly needed to know where he was at all times.

‘And that’s without knowing that I’ve cheated on her multiple times even with her sister.’

“I couldn’t sleep, excited to be back home.”

Lying came so naturally to him mainly because the Whites never really cared to try and figure him out. “I can’t believe you lived in this place…” the disgust was clear in her face, Robert hated that look, it screamed superiority as if she was somehow better than him. “…But then again it explains some of your…quirks.” Robert’s shoulders sagged as he was reminded of how broken he was. “How about you go to bed, I’ll be right up” Robert used his charm and a kiss on the forehead to get Chrissie to leave.

It was easy since the woman wasn’t really worried about him “don’t stay up too late you’re showing us around, you’re the only one that knows this world.” Again that sounded like an insult for some reason but maybe it was the arrogance that Chrissie constantly talked with. The woman looks at Peritas with distaste before turning away. The dog was the only thing of Robert’s that she couldn’t control and the only thing Robert refused to give up when they got together.

Peritas walked over to his side as Chrissie went up the stairs “don’t worry boy, you’re the one thing I’m not giving up no matter what.” He remembered what his father told him “at home you give woman what they want to keep them happy but outside the world is yours.” So that’s what he did, he made sure to be the perfect boyfriend, the one that Chrissie wanted while having fun on the side ‘dad would be so proud.’ Robert looked out the window and the night country clear sky before taking a deep breath and following Chrissie upstairs.


The next day

Robert wanted to sleep in but his dear fiancé woke him up complaining how no restaurant delivered no matter how much they paid. “Wake up, Lucky found an actual city nearby with some decent places to eat…” Chrissie was in front of the mirror getting ready “…and since you brought us to this dump, you’re paying.” The woman walked out closing the door to keep Peritas out despite her not being inside.

Not for the first time Robert wondered why he proposed “no men wants to get marry but it’s something we have to do.” His father was very firm about that and repeated it to him at every stage of his life ‘happy now dad?’ Robert really did care about Chrissie he just doubted himself too much because he keeps hearing his father’s voice pulling him one way and the lower voice of a young Robert pulling him the other.

Chrissie’s father Lawrence White hated him with a passion that Robert was sure had to do with the intrigued look the older man gave him when Robert started working for them and the way in which they met. Lachlan, Chrissie’s son also hated Robert but mainly because Robert hadn’t been as enabling as his mother and had made the woman say no to the spoil brat every once in a while when they started dating. “Is that really what you’re wearing!?” Chrissie looked at the black dress shirt with red leaves and branches.

“What’s wrong with it?”

“What do you mean? It’s hideous Robert!”

“Chrissie, did you expect any better? You can take the boy out of the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.” This was normal Lawrence found any reason to throw shots at Robert, trying to convince his daughter to dump him which only made her hold on to him harder.

‘It’s like he doesn’t know his own daughter.’

“I know dad but we’re engage now and things are different, he will be different.” There was no question or room for debate in her words; off to the side Lachlan smirked at Robert. Chrissie looked at Robert “come on Chrissie did you really think I would wear this?” Robert pushed everything back putting at the mask that helped him survive this long, Chrissie smiled “that’s not funny Robert; I thought you had as little class as dad says.” She looked relief, again her words sounded like an insult.

“I’ll go put on the shirt I was actually going to wear.”

“Hurry up”

Robert gives his signature ‘nothing fazes me’ and ‘smooth as butter’ smirk which Chrissie loves mainly because it makes her feel like she tamed a wild beast that no one else could handle. He knew that for Chrissie he was a trophy boyfriend, soon to be husband. “Oh and Robert, leave the dog. I don’t want anyone to think that we’re bonkers.” That made Robert flitch, the reason for him having Peritas is a very sensitive subject for him. He hated leaving him behind but he didn’t want to upset Chrissie or anyone to think he was crazy. 

He learned that with the Whites as with everyone else it’s better for Robert if he adapted his personality to fit the person’s desire. It was the way that Robert got Chrissie or his job at their company. Everyone always wanted him to be someone other than himself; it was never safe for Robert to be himself.

‘At this point, I don’t even know who that is.’


After a frustrating breakfast and leaving Chrissie with her father in the house Robert headed to the village using the excuse of taking Peritas out for a walk. He stood in the entrance of the village where he was once ordered to leave and never come back “Robert you don’t belong here, you only cause pain and destroy everything in your path. For the good of the family, you have to leave and never come back.” The words had ripped his heart to shreds and he remembered holding in his tears as to not seem weak in front of his father. The marks of his father’s hate and disgust still burning on his back and reminding him that after his mother died he was never loved in Emmerdale ‘or anywhere actually.’

He almost turned back but then he remembered a sweet smile “Rob, you’re the best. You’re more fun than Andy.” The sweet eyes and loving words that made him feel important and loved; at least for his little sister, he continued walking wanting to see her again. ‘I can also rub my success in Andy’s face’ Robert looked down at Peritas and got a look of support, from the bus stop the village looked the same. Like all small towns around the world nothing had really changed, it was almost as if time had skipped it only passing by briefly to change businesses and possibly people.

Peritas brushed against him, his weight felt like a healing balm and it was a great support. He walked down the village gravel streets, looking around with a smile on his face. Robert turned to the side and decided that there was someone that he wanted to see before anyone else. He walked down the streets until he was in front of the cemetery; Peritas almost seemed to know that this was a sad place because he stood firmly close to his human.

All the tombstones were weathered but some were cleaner, separating the old from the new, the forgotten from the loved. Some names he recognized others he had no idea, he avoided the one he was not ready to see and walked over to one of the weathered ones. Sarah Sugden, he remembered being angry by that because his mother had divorced Jack Sugden and as such she shouldn’t have been buried under that name.

No one took him serious instead “Robert now is not the time to cry for attention.” Like everything he ever did, everyone assumed that it was a cry for attention because he didn’t like the fact that everyone was paying attention to his dead mother. ‘That’s hilarious; I was the only one that actually cared about her. Andy killed her and dad covered it up.’ The grave was clean so he assumed that Vic came to visit her fairly recently, there were even fresh flowers. Robert sat down on the grass, thankful that it was a nice day “hey mum, I’m back.”

For the first time in what felt like years Robert smiled and talked to his mother, the only person that truly loved him. The good, the bad and the worst “Robert there is nothing wrong with you, all you need is someone to listen and love you like all kids.” The words even at this point in his life made him feel better and brought a smile to his face. No matter what he was going through even when he lost himself more and more each day.

“I love you mum, more than anyone in the world. I miss you every day and I haven’t been the same since they took you away from me…”

He got choked up and Peritas whined moving into his lap and trying to rub against him, it made Robert smiled “…but I’m not alone because I have Peritas and he is amazing. Gives the best cuddles, great listener although not as good a cook as you” Robert laughed while petting the dog. The two sat in silence for a few seconds, Robert trying to compose himself before heading over to see his sister.

“I’ll definitely come back to see you, soon.”


As he reached the village center, he realized he had no idea where Vic lived so he decided to go to the center of all activity in the village the Woolpack which he couldn’t believe was still standing. He took a deep breath and put on his mask of smug arsehole before walking over to the famous pub that seemed to have been there all of his life. It still looked the same like much of the village unchanged by time, he looked at Peritas remembering that he left his vest at home since Chrissie hated when he put it on the dog because it made them look barmy.

He also doesn’t like putting it on because people more often than not wondered what was wrong him and while he was not required to tell them it still made him uncomfortable. Robert was either the arsehole with nothing wrong exploiting a situation or he was the barmy bloke that no one wanted to get near. He didn’t want to leave Peritas, the blond was already anxious about meeting his family he wasn’t sure he could deal with it without his trusted and loyal companion.

“Excuse me, are you lost?”

Turning around Robert saw a blonde teenager with kind eyes, it seemed that he had been standing outside overthinking for longer that he thought “yes, I…” suddenly Robert found a solution, if Vic was inside he could ask this girl to bring her out here. “…actually I’m looking for Victoria Sugden but I don’t want to leave my dog here. I was waiting to see if she came out…” the girl seemed to think for a minute looking a Peritas “I could see if she’s inside and tell her to come out.”

And just like that Robert smirked on the inside as the young girl reached the conclusion he wanted her to reach “who should I tell her is looking for her?” The question was hard because he wasn’t sure how much information he wanted to give but he decided to go with the half-truth “just let her know Robert is here to see her.” Seeing the lack of recognition in the girl’s eyes made Robert hoped that his reputation did not precede him, at the same time it hurt to realize that his father was right and he was forgotten so easily.

“I’ll let her know.”

“Thank you…”

“Belle”

“Thank you Belle.”

The girl smiled one more time before walking inside, there was some curiosity in her eyes but he wasn’t surprised since any new face in a small village garners attention. He sat in one of the tables outside with Peritas by his side ignoring the stares he got from the people walking through the village. Fortunately for him, Peritas sizes kept them away so he was left alone ‘at least until they learn who I was.’


Victoria had been having a very busy day as warm weather usually brought more people out than usual. By tea time the pub was usually packed and Marlon needed her help, she had also been busy with the plans for Andy’s wedding and all the duties of bachelor party planning since she was made his best person. ‘I wish Robert were here’ her older brother always knew how to make her feel better and how to energize her when she was down.

Although thinking about the older man reminded her of the anger she felt towards him for leaving, let alone not saying goodbye. She was berated by Diane and Andy when she brought up the idea of trying to find Robert so that he could come for the wedding and they could be a family. “Are you bonkers!? Having Robert there would only destroy everything, don’t you remember what he did to Katie and me!?”

Andy had exclaimed, eyes wild as he lost his temper at the mere thought of the man and she would never say it but it scared her a little “He’s our brother…” She had replied desperately because the truth was that she missed Robert, the village wasn’t the same without him. “Victoria, dear, I know you’re kind and have a big heart but it’s Andy and Katie’s day, nothing should take that away from them and Robert is known for pulling all attention to him.”

Diane had rubbed her shoulder with a sweet look on her face almost as if that made up for her words “besides I don’t want him there or anywhere near Katie and me.” She had been outvoted and had also set Andy of on a tangent which usually happened every time that she brought up Robert. Katie also got on her case when she found out “did you really think that was a good idea Vic. You were young when he was here but Robert hurt a lot of people.”

She had just gotten annoyed with it all and ignored them focusing on her work, Victoria hated that her own opinion on the matter didn’t count. Neither of them took into account how she felt about the situation. “Vic!” she turned to see Marlon staring at her in worried “what?” it looked like he was trying to get her attention and she was more lost in her own mind than she thought “I said if you were done with the mise en place? Are you okay?” She shook her head trying to push her thoughts away from her family drama and on to her work. “Almost and yea I’m fine” Marlon didn’t really believed her but he decided to leave it alone for now, mainly because things were going to get very busy for tea soon and they couldn’t afford down time.

The two worked like a well-oiled machine after that, they didn’t have to talk or ask what the other needed. After working for a few years together, Vic knew her boss well enough to read him like Robert taught her. They got so lost in the work that neither heard nor saw when Belle came in calling Victoria’s name. It was Marlon that finally noticed the teenager standing by the door “Belle, what you doing here? Is everything okay?”

Marlon’s tone and the worry in his voice made Victoria turn to see one of the youngest Dingles besides her niece and nephew. “Everything’s fine Marlon, I’m actually here for Vic” Victoria turned confused; while she didn’t share the same prejudice as the rest of the villagers about the Dingles they weren’t overly closed. “Is something wrong?” Her first thought was Sarah and Jack, she worried that something had happened to them.

“There’s someone outside looking for you, they couldn’t come in so I offered to come get you.”

“For me?” Vic was confused she didn’t know anyone that would look for her and not come in also it seemed like Belle didn’t know this person which was even more strange. “Who is it?”

“Don’t know, never seen him before but he said to tell you Robert was looking for you.”

Suddenly a loud clang filled the room as Vic dropped the bowl she was carrying, her hand trembled slightly and her eyes widen in shock. “Vic! Are you okay!?” Victoria only knew of one Robert “is he a bad guy? Should I call Adam or Andy?” the mention of her other brother snapped her from her shock “NO! I’ll…I’ll take care of it.” The two Dingles didn’t seem too sure about letting her go but she tried to smile “it’s okay, I know this person…Marlon do you mind if I take a few minutes? It’s urgent”

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yea, I will be.”

“Okay, take 5”

“Thanks!”

Victoria ran out the kitchen only barely hearing Belle tell her that he was outside by the tables, she couldn’t believe that it was actually her brother. The brother she had been missing and wanted to see more than anything. Rushing through the pub she ignored the looks and burst through the main doors looking around but seeing no one. She felt disappointed, was Belle playing a trick or maybe she got the name wrong.

“You look just like mum.”

Turning around slowly she saw him, a tall blond man with familiar freckles on his cheek and intense green-grey eyes. The gaze and crooked smile that reminded her so much of her father “Ro…Robert?” when he smiled brightly there was no doubt in her mind that this was her brother. “In the flesh” Emotion overcame her so much that she squealed in joy before jumping into his arms, for the first time in a while she felt at ease ‘he still gives great hugs.’ She hugged him like her life depended on it, as if he would disappear if she let go.

Robert could feel his sister’s tears form what would no doubt be a huge wet spot on his shirt but he didn’t care, he buried his face in his sister’s hair. He felt like it was the first time since he left that he had received a true and honest hug from another human being besides his gran. ‘God, that feel good’ the siblings held tightly to each other, scared that it was all a dream. They were both unaware that people were watching them and they were drawing attention, no one knew Robert and Vic was hugging him like he was some long lost friend or a lover to the mean spirited gossipers.

“Why did you leave!? You didn’t even say good bye, jerk!”

Victoria had moved from happiness to anger as she remembered why it had been so long since she last saw her brother “you never even visited, were we not good enough?” Robert was shock by the hostility “what are you talking about? Vic I left because dad forced me to, he told me to get out and never come back.” This time Vic was the one in shock as she pulled back, she couldn’t believe that their father would do that.

‘He loved all of us and did anything for us.’

“Robert lies sometimes, it’s all for attention…”

She remembers that Andy once told her and she glared at her brother “how could you make something like that up? Just so I forgive you.” She could never believe that their father was that cruel, Robert felt himself deflate. He had been worried that she wouldn’t believe him, no one believes him when he tells the truth ‘but if I lied and said I left to join the mafia, everyone would bloody believe me in a heartbeat.’

Robert lowered his head wanting to leave as he felt disappointed, hurt and rejected. His father was right no one wanted him here and no one would believe a word he said. Peritas brushed against his leg pulling Vic’s attention “who’s this?” Robert wasn’t really in a talking mood any more “I have to go.” He made to walk around his sister but she grabbed his arm “what!? You just got here and you’re already leaving!?”

The man wanted to snap at his sister until he saw the desperation in her eyes, despite her lack of trust in him it seemed that Victoria really wanted him around. “Vic, I don’t want to fight, I didn’t come to fight. I wanted to see you; in fact you’re the only person I missed like crazy but if you don’t want to believe me that’s up to you…” He pulled his arm out of her grip “…be just like dad and Andy, I’m used to it.” The words felt like a slap to the face for Victoria because they sounded like an insult, even worse she could see the disappointment and hurt in her brother’s eyes. It filled her with doubt ‘perhaps he was telling the truth?’ before she could give it more thought the answer was given to her.

“What are you doing here!? Dad told you to get out and stay away!”

Victoria turned to see a furious Andy marching towards them, that’s when she saw some people standing around being nosey. She glared at them to go about their day but most of them just pretended to not be paying attention. With Andy right in front of them she finally acknowledged his words “so it’s true? The reason I lost my brother and never saw him until now was because of dad and you!?” Her loud exclamation officially announced Robert’s identity to the whole village, Robert could already see the word being spread.

‘Oh the joys of cellphones’

“Vic you don’t understand…”

“No, it wasn’t your or his decision to make. Neither of you were the leaders, founders or bloody owners of the village, you had no right. Then all this years you talked like Robert abandoned me but instead you made him!”

“He would’ve left you eventually, Robert only cares about himself. If he’s back it’s because he’s up to something and the village is a means to an end.”

They all turned to see Katie walked over glaring at Robert although there was a hidden fire in her eyes as she looked him over something they all missed. Robert put on his smug ‘nothing affects me’ smile before turning to Katie “nice to hear you still have such high opinion of me but then again coming from the village’s bike that’s not saying much.” Katie balanced between shock, humiliated and furious at the insult and how calm Robert seemed while saying it.

‘He hasn’t change’


“What the hell you say!?”

Andy stepped forward ready to defend his future wife’s honor but all he got was a smirk from Robert who seemed unaffected by his aggressive posture. They heard a growl and looked down to see a big German Sheppard next to the blond glaring at Andy. “I’ve only said the truth” the blond shrugged his shoulders petting Peritas so the dog would stand down. “If you were interested in the truth you would realize no one wants you here but then again I guess no one wants you anywhere.”

Katie smirked as she saw Robert smirk tightened, she wrapped her hand around Andy’s arm “okay you three, break it up. This is not the time or place for this.” Diane walked over interrupting before Robert could attack back. She placed her hand on Robert’s arm “Robert dear, it’s good to see you again.” The man simple nodded giving her the imitation of a smile that didn’t reach his eyes “Diane is good to see you in good health.” The woman smiled tenderly but Robert wasn’t fooled, Diane had never been his advocate “we should have dinner as a family, now that you’re back.”

“Diane!?”

“It’s not like he’s staying or we want him”

“It’s fine Diane, I have a few things to do anyways.”

Robert spoke more calmly after Katie and Andy protested, he was about to leave when Vic once again grabbed his arm. “You are not going anywhere we have a lot to talk about” this time she had a death grip on his arm as she led him to a door next to the pub “Vic!?” Andy tried to intervene “you, shut it! I’m not happy with you right now” Andy wilted under his sister’s glare sending Robert his own already blaming him for all the trouble he was causing.

“He just got here and he’s already causing trouble.”

Katie glared as the brother and sister along with the dog enter through the house instead of the Woolpack main entrance. Diane seemed worry about what trouble Robert might cause for sweet and slightly naïve Victoria. She just hoped he didn’t do anything to ruin Andy and Katie’s wedding like he did before. ‘Oh Jack dear, what shall we do with him. I wish you were here, you were the only one that could keep that boy in check.’

Robert looked around as he was pulled into what seemed like someone’s home that was connect to the pub, he was shoved on a sofa while Peritas tried to sniff his new environment “wait here, I have to go help Marlon in the kitchen and since dogs aren’t allowed in the pub you can wait for me here until I’m done, hopefully I could leave early.” Victoria ordered firmly which made Robert smile because she still looked like a puppy trying to growl.

“Vic I’m not leaving the village. I can always come back…”

“Nope, not taking any chances”

“Vic, this is someone’s house. What if they come and find me here?”

“Don’t worry; just say you’re waiting for me. Don’t even think about moving, I’ll come and check in. Hopefully I could leave early today.”

Victoria walked backwards without taking her eyes off Robert which made the man laugh “fine Vic, I’ll stay. I promise” he added softly making his sister smile brightly before rushing out a door that led to the pub; he could hear all the noise. He was about to look around before Vic’s head popped in making him roll his eyes affectionately “go to work Vic, we’ll wait here.” His sister smiled brightly once more.

“Just checking”


Aaron was tired, he wanted to take a shower and get rid of his frustration ‘I could really use a good hard fuck.’ It’s been a while since he had sex and even longer since he got a good hard fucking. He was going to walk straight up the stairs but heard something in the living room and decided to check it out. He had assumed it would be his mother or Charity so he was surprised when he saw a blond head peeking from the sofa, a male blond head at first he thought it was one of Charity’s toys.

 As he got closer he hear a growl and noticed a big German Sheppard sitting up straight by whom Aaron assumed was his owner. The dog was staring at him cautiously as if trying to gage if Aaron was a threat to his human. Aaron walked around making sure to keep a good distance from the dog to get a better look at the human that based on his lack of reaction was sleeping or deaf.

Getting a full view of the man made him raise his eyebrows; the man had a slim oval face that was framed by wheat almost golden blond hair, he had plumped pink lips that were slightly parted and looked so inviting. His face was dusted with freckles like stars that on the night sky, Aaron never knew it was a turn on for him. The man was clearly tall based of the way his knees bend as he sat down even better his legs were opened making his pants tighten around strong thighs. Looking up Aaron could see slim muscles as his shirt rose enough to show creamy skin ‘the leather jacket definitely suits him.’

He licked his lips as he admired the sleeping man, he almost forgot about the dog until he tried to get close and the animal made a sound of displeasure “calm down, I’m not going to hurt him.” He tried to pacify the protective animal ‘but damn do I want him to hurt me in the best way possible.’ Aaron had never been so physical attracted to another man before; it’s never been so strong that it physically pulled him in.

Aaron sat on the love seat in front of the man with the coffee table between them; he really hoped that the man was threat or a spy from a rival gang because he wanted a taste and that was the only thing that might stop him. ‘Then again I could still have a taste before killing him’ Aaron doesn’t know how long he sat watching the beautiful man; he had gotten up to make tea then sat back down. He completely forgot about his exhaustion, the dog seemed to have classified him as not a threat for the moment but still wouldn’t let him get too close.

The shuffling told him that he was about to get some answers one of which being what color were those eyes. The man stretched exposing more deliciously creamy skin as the shirt riled up; the eyes left him breathless they were like the ocean with waves of blues, greens and greys. He tried to find a name for that color but couldn’t think of one that felt right. He was definitely the most beautiful man Aaron has met and he wanted him.

“Who the hell are you?”

The voice wasn’t too deep or too high, it was the perfect balance like the Indy songs he loved to listen to that had no genre. The snark was a plus but even then Aaron wasn’t going to let a possible spy off easy “that should be my question since I don’t know you and you’re in my house, goldilocks.” He made sure to use what Adam called his ‘I will happily kill you and enjoy it’ voice.

To his surprise that had no effect on the man but a raised eyebrow “do you watch all the guest in your house sleep like a psychopath or am I just special…baby bear? Where’re the two other bears?” The man was flirting with him, his tone was harsh but Aaron saw as those colorful eyes checked him out. Aaron ignored the comment about him being baby bear because it sounded more like a term of endearment than an insult and he kind of liked it.

“I was fascinated; I’ve never seen a grown man snore, drool, and talk while asleep.”

The man blushed slightly glaring at Aaron “in that case you’ve led a very sad and lonely life, maybe if you stopped watching people sleep like a creeper you would actually be able to enjoy it.” The man was a smart ass that seemed to have a response for everything; Aaron had never felt so deliciously challenged. To the side Peritas was watching the back and forth with interest, he could smell the pheromones the two humans were giving off.

“Do you walk uninvited into people’s houses and insult them or am I just special?”

“Sorry to break to you but I insult everyone, if you want to be special in my books, do something besides watching me sleep but then again that’s not my kink so it might not work out anyways.”

Robert didn’t know what the hell he was doing, he woke up to some bloke watching him sleep with an intensity that made him shiver with something other than fear. Those clear blue eyes undressed him and promised so much, it was like being stared at by a wolf. The bloke was fit as hell and Robert couldn’t help but let some flirting slip through the cracks. ‘I don’t even know if he likes men, you are going to get beat up Robert. The man looks like a thug’ the man smirked at him and there was a dangerous edge to that smirk that instead of scaring him, excited Robert.

“Okay, I’m ready…”

Before the man could respond they were both startled by Victoria’s voice as the young woman stepped into the living room from the back room. She still had her uniform and had been unbuttoning the jacket as she walked in when she looked up to see Aaron with her brother. The two were fairly close and almost looked like they had been having a confrontation “is…everything okay?” Aaron was her friend but she knew how dangerous he could be, everyone knew of the young Dingles’ temper, mixed with the family’s dodgy dealings made Aaron someone no to be messed with.

“Just getting acquitted with the owner of the house and his questionable hobby”

“And I’m meeting someone disrespectful enough to fall asleep in a stranger’s house then insult them.”

“Well the stranger makes it so easy.”

The two men banter back and forth, Vic was worried that Robert would test Aaron’s patients “sorry about that, I told him he could wait for me here…” the two took their eyes off each other and looked at the girl. Robert was confused by why his sister seemed so nervous, he wondered if the bloke really was a creeper. Aaron wondered who the man was to Vic, he thought that maybe she was cheating on Adam but she wouldn’t be stupid enough to bring him to Aaron’s house.

“We should head out, come on Robert.”

Victoria practically pulled the tall man out mumbling an apology to Aaron, the massive dog followed after its owner leaving a smirking Aaron behind. “Robert” he tested the name on his lips, he wants to taste much more than just the man’s name. He decided to go to the pub knowing that the gossiping on the new man would be running around, that was the best place to find out more about the delicious eye candy that just joined Emmerdale.


“Vic I rather not lose my arm any time soon, can you slow down?”

Robert snarked as he tried to pull his arm out of his sister’s death grip as the young woman continued to pull him away from the Woolpack back room like a bomb was about to go off. He didn’t understand the reaction, one part Vic seemed friend to the guy but at the same time she kept him at a distance. “I just want to start catching up with you” One thing about his little sister that hasn’t change was the she was still a horrible liar.

When they were younger he tried to help his sister in changing that by teaching her his ways but the fact that they separated while Vic was still young made it impossible. At this point in her life the girl might be a lost cause ‘no! I refuse to believe that.’ Robert got lost in plotting the best way to pull Vic over to the ‘dark side.’ They walked towards Keepers Cottage which had been Edna’s place the last time he was in the village.

‘I wonder what happened to the farm.’

“Vic, I’m serious let me go. You’re going to leave a bruise.”

At the words it was almost as if Victoria realized what she was doing and she realized how hard she was gripping his arm, maybe it was because they were at the door of Keepers Cottage or maybe it was because she was finally sure he wouldn’t run back to the Woolpack’s back room.

Victoria opened the door letting Robert in before closing it quickly almost as if she expected Aaron to come out and run after them. ‘Definitely have to keep Robert away from Aaron, I don’t want Rob to get involved in something dodgy’ If there was one thing that she remembered about her older brother was that he was a magnet for trouble, it just seemed to find him and love him enough to stay.

“You want some tea?”

“I need something to calm the pain.”

“Oh stop it; I didn’t grab you that hard.” Vic rolled her eyes at her brother’s dramatics ‘somethings never change.’

“What was that about? Who was that any ways?”

Victoria distracted herself by making tea, buying herself some time to think about a response that would not intrigue Robert and instead disinterest him like she wanted. Robert had always been extremely curious and she was beginning to realize that much hasn’t change based on the look in his eyes, one part mischief two parts curiosity. He was the kid that always did the things that he was ordered not to do; it was one of the things that mostly got him in trouble with their father.

Unfortunately the tea was done relatively fast so she didn’t have much time to think, she wasn’t like Robert in that she wasn’t able lie and charm her way out of situations with the blink of an eye. As she placed the cup in front of him she decided to go with the truth “His name is Aaron Dingle and you need to keep your distance…”

She knew that wasn’t the right thing to say when she saw the glint of challenge in the man’s eyes, she might as well told him ‘go to him and become best friends’ “…he and his whole family are dodgy. We are friends but even I keep my distance, you are more of a trouble magnet than me so it’s best for your own good -and that of the village’s no doubt- that you stay completely away.”

“I’m not really looking for trouble so you don’t have to worry. I’m mainly here with my fiancé and her family who got transferred for business.” There was no way Robert was going to tell his little sister that he was the one who suggested Emmerdale because he wanted to brag to the village that thought he would never amount to anything more than a two bit thug. “Wait a minute, fiancé!?” Victoria’s eyes widen and excitement over came her at the thought of her big brother happy and in love.

“Yes fiancé, don’t sound so surprise!”

“It’s not that, I just never thought you would be the settling down type. You always had a new love or girlfriend back then.”

“Well, turns out I just hadn’t found the right one.”

“And have you found the right one now?”

Victoria was unaware of how load that question was, Robert thought about his relationship with Chrissie and the reason that it started. He thought about how much of himself he had to hide or change for the woman to be happy. All the things he had to give up or compromise on for their relationship to work or for Chrissie to be happy, never for him always for her.

 Chrissie was passionate, smart, strong and independent, traits which Robert was attracted to but was she the one? The easy answer was that she was as close to ‘the one’ as he was ever going to get or that his father would approve of. The difficult answer was that he didn’t know because he had no idea what ‘the one’ and ‘love’ was supposed to feel like even at this point in his life. ‘Especially at this point in my life’ but he couldn’t tell Victoria all of that because one, he didn’t want to worry his little sister and two, she seemed so happy for him that he didn’t want to ruin the moment.

‘When in doubt…tell them what they want to hear, in other words…lie.’

“Yea, I have.”

Chapter Text

More beast than man

It only took two days for Chrissie’s curiosity to get the better of her and drive to the village to see the place Robert grew up in. The whole White family was not impressed although to Robert it was clear that they enjoyed the attention they got when they walked into the Woolpack. In a small village newcomers were usually the stars of everyone’s life for the first few days until they could find out everything about them or something else stole their attention.

It was clear that Chrissie was enjoying the attention and Robert put on his smarmy mask to deal with it all, especially when Andy saw them together. That was what he wanted and it was satisfying for Andy to see that Robert was better than him in every way and for the village’s bike to see that he could do way better than her over used arse. He was worried when Chrissie insisted on meeting them up close but for the most part Andy was on his best behavior.

‘Always needs to be seen as a good boy.’

Victoria was absolutely ecstatic “I was actually beginning to think that he made you up especially when he described how beautiful you were…” Chrissie smiled sweetly although Robert could see the pleased arrogant glint in her eyes.

He decided not to tell her that he didn’t really described her to Victoria let alone said she was pretty “…Now I see he was right.” Chrissie giggled trying to seem like the humble sweet lady that she was not “oh please, Robert exaggerates.” She waved the compliment off “I really do” Robert whispered but got a discrete elbow to the ribs to shut him up.

“Definitely out of his league, what lie did he tell you for you to take pity on him?”

Katie smirked at Robert but the man did not let her or the fact that everyone else laughed as if they all agreed with her affect him instead he fired back “Chrissie is not a gullible halfwit like others who fall so easily for sweet words” and just like that Katie’s smile was gone.

Robert could feel eyes on them as practically the whole village watched them, by then word got out that prodigal son of Jack Sugden had returned. They were all whispering, watching and waiting for what crazy stunts he would pull as if he were some dancing monkey there for their amusement.

“And they were so happy, now he’s going to come and ruin they big day. He couldn’t just let them be happy…” he could hear them all whisper harshly “I feel bad for the rest of the family especially Andy.” He clenched his fist as he took in a deep breath to keep himself from telling them to do one.

As he looked around his eyes landed on intense clear blue ones that stared at him unashamedly, the familiar eyes belonged to the owner of the flat in the back and possibly the pub. Those eyes felt like hands as they stared at him and ran down his body, Robert subconsciously licked his dry lips drawing those eyes to the movement of his tongue. The air felt suffocating and hot, the clearly younger man smirked as if he knew the affect his stare had on Robert.

“Creeper”

Robert mouthed the words and saw those eyes light up with amusement as the man smirked and chuckle. “Disrespectful” Aaron mouthed back making Robert smirk before his attention was pulled away by Chrissie. This time Aaron glared at the woman hanging from Victoria brother’s arm, for some reason her presence bothered him.

Aaron had never been the jealous type, he could be possessive but he was never possessive over sexual partners. Sex was about gratification and if they got that from each other, Aaron didn’t really cared what or who his partners did afterwards. But Aaron could tell that the man wasn’t comfortable, his other hand kept subconsciously searching for something that Aaron would guess was his dog.

‘Definitely not a pet…What secrets do you hide Robert Sugden behind gorgeous eyes and a confident smile.’

Robert felt naked without Peritas by his side, the dog was his anchor and despite his doctor getting the right dosage of his medication to stabilize his condition, Robert still depended on the dog to keep him grounded. He got Peritas a year after his diagnosis when none of the dosage and pill combinations that the doctors tried worked.

They recommended that he get a service dog specially trained to help people with his condition, at first he was going to ignore it because he didn’t need anyone ‘Jack Sugden showed me that.’ Unfortunately he got worse to the point that he was waking up in random places every night and had almost offed himself a couple of times so he didn’t really have a choice.

Robert also felt lonely so he decided to apply for a service dog “the wait could be anything from a few months to years…” He was so discourage that he lost himself to his condition for a few weeks or months he still wasn’t sure, that time was all a blur to him. Because of that the organization realized how urgent his case was so he got Peritas before the doctors found the right dosage for him. With Peritas everything fell into place, the dog had been his only companion and for the first time since his mother was killed Robert had felt loved and cared for.

“…Rob…Robert! Are you listening?” Chrissie exclaimed glaring at him but trying to keep her sweet and elegant lady image in front of his family.

“Not really” That got him a glare from everyone on the table ‘aaaand I’m back to being the evil stepmother…wonder who’s Cinderella.’ Robert turned to Andy who was glaring at him, Katie who was smirking and finally Chrissie who rolled her eyes.

“Robert! That’s not very nice!” Diane exclaimed giving him a disappointed look along with Vic’s disapproving one which actually hurt him.

“It’s okay…” Again Chrissie played the understanding and patient fiancé making him look worse.

“No it’s not; he should know how lucky he is to have you.” Victoria exclaimed passionately as if Chrissie was the one she was related to or they knew each other for years and Robert was the outsider.

“Happy wife, happy life” Andy declared making everyone smile at him in approval, Katie smirked at Robert and lean in giving her fiancé a kiss “Robert wouldn’t know about making anyone but himself happy.”

Chrissie glared at the woman and her snide comment, Robert was not foolish enough to believe that it was out of love or loyalty to him. His fiancé was worry about what Katie’s comment might say about her “oh believe me Robert keeps me quite happy, we are just not one of those couples that have to display their love for all to see as if to proof it to the world.” Katie’s smirk wilted and transferred to Robert

“We don’t need others’ validation.” Robert added giving Chrissie a sweet and tender kiss to the side of her head which made the woman smile proudly. That was the thing about their relationship, no matter how much they fight or get on each other’s case, they were so similar that when they were attacked, they came together in sync to fire back. Diane and Vic smiled at the sweet couple not noticing the tension around the table, not realizing that Robert and Chrissie were throwing shade.

Across the room Aaron glared at the seemingly happy couple “I can’t believe he came back, he should’ve stayed away.” Chas’ voice snapped him out of his glaring, the woman was behind the bar glaring at Robert. “What are you on about?” Aaron turned away from the table “Robert Sugden is bad news everyone in the village knows that. He brings nothing but pain and misery to that family.” Chas glared at the man as if he had personally attacked her or as if the man was the most despicable person she met.

“It seems that the pain is mutual.”

“No, all that family did was help him but he threw it back in their face constantly…” Aaron rolled his eyes at his mother’s hypocrisy.

“Did he kill someone or something? Cause he might fit right in” Chas was thrown off by Aaron’s words, not sure if he was joking.

“Well…no but he manipulated Katie so he could break her and Andy up, ruining their relationship.”

“So let me get this right, Katie slept with him out of her own free will and he’s the bad guy…”

“He’s manipulative and cares about no one but himself…” Aaron glared at the woman hating the woman’s irrationality; he knew that a lot of it was out of loyalty to Katie who was one of her dearest friends.

“You ran a criminal empire that has done much worse…but yea, you’re right, he’s the bad one.” He whispered in his mother’s ears before walking away.


In the next few days Home Farm was filled with activity as furniture and belongings came in, Chrissie was buzzing around the big house ordering the movers and her family to do her bidding. Lachlan used the excuse of getting his room ready to avoid the chaos while Lawrence insisted on preparing the office and doing some paperwork.

Robert was the scapegoat ‘like always’ being boss around by his wife and he was slowly losing his patience. “NO! Not there, over there. Robert, stop acting like a muppet!” Robert rolled his eyes but did as he was told getting understanding looks from the movers that were facing the same abuse and were feeling the same way.

“I know you grew up here and don’t have the class I do...” Chrissie snide making Robert feel humiliated to have his past thrown in his face and aired in front of strangers.

“You’re right I picked you after all” Robert whispered harshly as he clenched his fist in anger.

Chrissie always brought up his poor upbringing compared to her silver spoon making Robert feeling like he was Oliver Twist and she was the Princess that took pity on him but then always threw her ‘kindness’ in his face.

He hated that his lack of prestigious upbringing and money made people treat him like crap. Robert remembers the one time he decided to forget about status and serenaded a rich girl he had a crush on. At the time he was mostly homeless but he was ‘in love’ so he was also an idiot.

“Did you seriously think that guys like you get girls like me…You’re a nobody and you will always be a nobody.”

‘Money is definitely more important than love. Love only brings me pain and humiliation.’

Peritas could feel the tension in the area as he followed his human around, he could smell the sour stench coming off the man and he knew that was not a good thing. That scent usually meant that his human needed him to pull him away and distract him. So the dog went over to the back the door and scratched it, whining to get attention. “Robert! Take care of your mutt” Chrissie never liked Peritas, the woman doesn’t like dogs in general ‘that should already say more than enough’ but when they first started dating she was jealous of how close they were and still are.

Robert cancelled dates to take care of the dog or just to spend time with him; a part of Chrissie knew that if it came to a choice between her and Peritas then the dog will always win. The arrogant woman couldn’t perceive not being someone’s number one, the center of their world; he was sure that in every relationship Chrissie had been in she was the most important person in her partner’s life or she got rid of them. Robert was different because he knew how to keep Chrissie interested and make her come back for more.

The man rolled his eyes but took the opportunity given to him and walked away with his faithful companion by his side. As they finally left the big house Robert smiled down at the German Shepard “cheers for that” the dog gave him a happy grin as if he understood what Robert was talking about. Robert laughed as the two walked around the grounds; the man took a deep breath trying to let go of his frustration and stress.

He somehow found himself outside the estate walking around the many field in Emmerdale, he remembered running around them and wishing he were somewhere else. Peritas was living his best life running around and actually frolicking through the fields, the dog sniffed and barked at all the animals he saw. “Careful Peritas, you’re a city dog” Robert smiled at the dog acting like a puppy; he followed at a slower pace. Until he came across an old seemingly abandoned barn and it made him think about the barn in which he lost everything when he was a kid

“You’re far from home.”

“A creeper and a stalker, I don’t know if I should be annoyed or feel special.”


Aaron was frustrated, he hated incompetence mix with stupidity and that was exactly what Ross Barton was. He had given the man a chance as a favor to Adam who asked him to give the man a job; they didn’t tell Ross how big the organization was only that Aaron and Charity had a new hustle of stealing cars and selling them out. The man was an idiot and stole a car with a tracking system almost getting caught. Thankfully Charity worked her charms before Aaron had to kill both the owner of the car and Ross.

“Take a walk; I’ll take care of him.”

That was how Aaron found himself taking a walk through the fields until he heard barking and decided to follow hoping it was the person he thought it was. Seeing the new blond in front of the old barn made him smirk, the attitude made him smile. It was that fire that was pulling Aaron in “Isn’t the normal reaction fear?” He walked over to the man until they were inches apart “well I’ve been told many times that I’m not normal, also hate to break it to you but besides being a creeper, you’re not really terrifying.”

Aaron raised an eyebrow and almost laughing at the man’s words but the honesty in Robert’s eyes intrigued him. “You should be” Aaron stepped forward until they were a breath away “yea? Why is that?” Robert didn’t back down almost feeling the heat from the other man’s body “I’m a very dangerous guy…” Robert raised his eyebrow and chuckle “…you don’t believe me.” Robert stepped forward and leaned over until their noses were almost touching and their breaths inter mingle.

“I’m sure you believe that…” Then he whispered into Aaron’s ears “…but actually dangerous guys don’t need to tell people they’re dangerous.”

Aaron felt himself shiver as Robert’s breath hit his ear and the feeling travelled down his body, with just a few words and a breath Robert had him half hard. The older man stepped away with a smirk on his face as if he knew the affect he had on Aaron. “Well I should really get home, see you around dangerous creeper.” Robert winked before calling his dog “let’s go Peritas” and walking away leaving a turned on and interested Aaron.

“Oh, you definitely will.”


The next day at Home Farm things had not changed, Chrissie had become more agitated since the movers had left and she was left to organize everything on her own which meant that she was attacking the family and forcing them to help, mainly Robert since she would never yell at Lachlan or her father.

“I said it goes in the foyer Robert, foyer! I know you’ve lived in a farm so it might be a new concept for you…” Chrissie yelled at him for the hundredth time that day and it wasn’t even lunch yet “then maybe I shouldn’t be the one helping you, as a poor farm boy I can’t afford to work for free and clearly I’m not getting anything out of this!”

Robert was pissed, normally he would ignore all the Whites snide remarks because he wanted to stay on their good side for the money but Chrissie was pushing him. He is not one to take abuse from anyone, not for the first time he wondered why he was getting married to the woman any ways.

“Where are you going!?” Chrissie yelled as Robert walked away “I’m going to try and get some actual work done while your Highness takes care of the concepts I know nothing about.” For good measure he slammed the office door, he was just happy that Lawrence wasn’t in the office or else the man would get on his case too.

The man hated him for his daughter and tried everything he could to break them up, they all thought that it was because of Robert’s background but he knew that it was much more than that. “What the bloody hell are you doing here!? Get out now!” The man had panicked when he saw Robert at the door and almost had a heart attack when Chrissie introduced him as her boyfriend. At first Robert had no idea who the man was until Chrissie unknowingly refreshed his memory “Dad, Robert lived in Barcelona…My father took a business trip there a few years ago.”

Robert had wanted to crack up as he remembered the gay club in Barcelona where an older man tried to pick him up and pay him for sex. “My name is Larry, how much for the night?” He had almost taken the man up on the offer, if the old man had caught him a few years earlier or even before his dosage was under control then Robert would’ve probably have gone with him. When he saw the terror in Lawrence’s eyes Robert smirked as a plan form in his head to get him what he wanted which was money and prestige.

“What would your daughter think if she knew you tried to pay her young boyfriend for sex…?”

After that Lawrence complained but never actually did anything to break them up, the man even gave Robert a position in his company. Robert actually found the work rewarding, in fact he grew to actually like it and even better he exceled at it. Whenever he fought with Chrissie and the rest of the family got on his case Robert focused on his work and got lost in it.

“Lunch is ready?” He heard Chrissie’s voice but he ignore it instead continuing to do paperwork “are you really doing the victim routine right now?” The woman rolled her eyes as if Robert was being dramatic for being pissed that his partner would treat him like less.

“Chrissie I’m working so how about you return to your decorating, you know stick to the concepts we’re each good at.”

Robert was the master of subtle insults and passive aggressive remarks, he knew how to make people look confuse until they processed his words. Chrissie unlike everyone else knew when her fiancé was throwing shots at her “are you having one of your anxiety episodes?” At the question Robert rolled his eyes, not for the first time he was happy that he didn’t tell Chrissie about his condition. At first it wasn’t on purpose when the woman met Peritas she assumed he was a pet.

It didn’t help that when they were together Robert left the dog at home because he knew that his condition would scare the woman away, he also didn’t want people to look at him like he was crazy. On one of their dates Robert was feeling itching and uncomfortable so he took Peritas with him “Robert what are you doing? You can’t bring a dog on a date.” The woman was not happy and once she saw the service dog vest her whole demure changed. It was a look that he was familiar with, the look everyone usually gave the dirty homeless people ranting on the streets and in the tube.

“What is he for? You’re not blind so…?”

“Just…anxiety…”

Robert lied with the promise that he would tell her the truth once their relationship became more serious but when he met Lawrence and Lachlan he realized that the prejudice ran in the family and it was too deeply rooted for it to ever change. In the end it was good that he didn’t tell her because Chrissie hated Peritas and insisted that Robert leave the dog every time they went out together. Ever since then every time he was angry or gets ‘too’ emotional the whole family assumes that he was having an ‘episode’ which they treated like men treat women on their period.

“No, I’m not having an episode. I’m simply frustrated that the woman I want to marry keeps acting like a bigot.”

“I am not a bigot!”

“Constantly judging someone base on class…you’re right, that’s not bigotry; how foolish of me too assume.”

Robert rolled his eyes walking around the office ignoring the woman looking like a fish out of water. He walked around Peritas who was lying in his bed by Robert’s desk, normally he ignores the Whites and their comments but dealing with Katie, Andy and the rest of his family made him reach his quota of patience. “Robert what’s going on? You’ve never been so sensitive” Chrissie spoke up, her voice was softer as if she was talking to some wild animal.

That was normal for them; whenever they fought and Chrissie took it too far she tried to blame it on Robert’s mental health. When that didn’t work she use her soft and gentle ‘loving girlfriend’ voice to make him the bad guy like everyone else in his life. An exhausted Robert would let her win and then Chrissie would give him some expensive gift like a husband gives his wife when he fucks up or cheats on her with the secretary.

“I told you I didn’t want to come back. It wasn’t me being dramatic, I had an actual reason but you didn’t listen and now I have to deal with them!” Robert exclaimed the last part thinking about his family and their constant villainization of him and everything he did, does or will do.

“Oh god Robert, you are being dramatic. Everyone has problems with their families, you’re not special as much as you want to believe so stop this nonsense and come join us for tea.”

And that was the end of their ‘loving’ moment, no hug or kiss from his loving fiancé. No ‘I understand’ or ‘It’s going to be okay’, the woman didn’t even try to pretend. That was the extent of the emotional aspect of their relationship which was fine by him since he didn’t really like sharing, he rather keeping everything lock away. He let out a sigh “I have to finish this…” Chrissie rolled her eyes and stump away like a spoiled brat that was send to her room.


Two days later

Robert has had enough with Chrissie so he decided to go for a ride on his new present, an Audi R8. As gifts are considered, this one was one of the best; Robert smirked every time he looked at the white beauty. Of course he now had to be on his best behavior and play the part of doting, loving and devoted boyfriend which wasn’t too hard since he had been playing that since the beginning of their relationship. He waited until Chrissie went to take a shower, Lawrence went on a business meeting and Lachlan disappeared somewhere again before he made his escape.

“Come on Peritas, let’s go for a ride.”

The dog barked and zoom around in excitement as if he understood what Robert meant, the German Shepard’s tail wagged even hard and faster when he saw the car “any one would think that you love this car as much as me.” Robert laughed at the excited dog opening the door to the passenger side of the car. He got in and lowered the windows so that they could both enjoy the wind “want to see how fast this baby goes?” Robert got a bark of approval.

The drive is exactly what he needed, the clean and fresh wind of the countryside relaxed him in a way that the busy air of London and Barcelona never could. For a moment he let himself get lost in the daydream that this was his life, just Peritas and him on the road. When he was first kicked out the village, he drove around the country and he enjoyed the freedom that it gave him until the harsh winters came and then living in his car wasn’t so great.

Robert was driving by a layby when the car suddenly stopped “really!?” and as much as he tried the car wouldn’t start. He knew that it couldn’t be a mechanical issue since the car was brand new but either way he got out and checked just to be on the safe side. The former mechanic bended over the car frustrated that he had to do that again and even worse for his brand new Audi. With the money the car cost he shouldn’t really be having any problems what so ever

“I knew I shouldn’t have taken it…” He was distracted looking around in the car and mumbling to himself that he didn’t notice the car that drove by and parked in front of his car. “Peritas quiet, I’m trying to think…” Robert exclaimed to the barking dog not realizing that the dog was not barking at him but at the man walking up to the car.

“…this is not a practical car for someone with a dog…”

“Then why did you buy it?”

Robert jumped embarrassingly high in the air at hearing a very human voice speak for a moment he thought that he had lost it and he was hearing Peritas talk; looking up he saw none other than Aaron Dingle, the man he was supposed to be keeping away from yet seemed to be running into at every turn.

“Seriously are you following me?” Robert was beginning to wonder “don’t flatter yourself; I just thought I see who was the muppet who decided it was a good idea to drive a sports car around these roads.” Aaron rolled his eyes; smirk still firmly in place as Robert blushed slightly.

“Well now that you’ve seen the show without buying a ticket you can be on your way.”

Robert snide back already annoyed and embarrassed, he turned back to the car ignoring Aaron and hoping the man would leave him to be swallowed by the ground in peace.  Aaron stared as the man bend over and licked his lips as Robert’s jeans pulled tightly giving Aaron a perfect view of a tone arse and long legs. A dog bark snapped Aaron out of his appreciation; the German Shepard stared at him from the passenger in disappointment as if he knew what Aaron was thinking about his human.

“Let me take a look”

“Why would I do that?”

“My uncle owes the garage in town, he’s a mechanic…”

“How does that transfer to you? Unless you’re making a call…”

Robert raised an eyebrow unable to stop himself from being a smartarse mainly to disguise his caution, Vic had asked him ‘practically ordered’ that he keep his distance from Aaron and as curious as he was he trusted Vic’s instinct since the girl loved and trusted everyone so for her to be cautious of someone was huge. The problem was that he could feel a pull towards the man that was hard to ignore and fight.

“I help him out part time…” Aaron lied smoothly “…but if you rather stay here and wait for help that will never come…”

Aaron stepped back “wait…” until Robert fell into his hands “fine but no funny business.” The blond man stepped back to let the younger man take a look. A few minutes Aaron looked up “I don’t see anything wrong, it’s obvious that everything is new and working perfectly.” Robert groaned in frustration unaware of what the sound did to Aaron “it doesn’t make sense…” Aaron took a deep breath trying to calm his libido; he’s never had so little control of himself in that sense.

“Are you sure this isn’t just some ploy to get me alone?”

 “Oh you caught me, I knew you were going to stop at this precise layby at this precise time and I pretended to have problems with my car” Robert rolled his eyes as he snarked sarcastically making Aaron grin.

“I knew it…” Aaron playfully exclaimed “are you sure you didn’t just run out of gas?”

Once more Robert rolled his eyes making Aaron wonder if that was the man’s trade mark ‘his eyes are going to get stuck that way which would be such a ashamed since they’re gorgeous like their owner.’ “Of course, I’m not stupid. I was an actual mechanic, I would know if I ran…” Robert exclaimed while walking towards the driver side mainly to check and prove to Aaron that he was not a muppet “…out of ga…” Suddenly his words cut off and Aaron smirk, Robert stood up with a blush on his face although that didn’t stop him from glaring at Aaron.

“Shut up!”

“I didn’t say anything!” Aaron exclaimed although the amusement was clear in his voice “lucky for you I think I have a tank of gas in my car.”

The younger man walked to his trunk and pulled the tank of gas that he was planning to use on arsehole that betrayed them “you carry gas in your trunk?” he wasn’t going to tell Robert that it was to burn someone though “yea, mechanic uncle remember? He taught me to be prepare for everything at least when it came to my car.” Robert had so many questions, he knew there was more to the story than Aaron said but kept quiet watching the man put the gas in his car.

Robert stood by the passenger window absentmindedly petting Peritas while he checked Aaron out as the man poured the gas into his car. ‘I know something else he can pour...’ Robert scrunch his eyebrows ‘…wait that doesn’t make sense…?’

“All done” the words snapped him out of his thoughts just to see Aaron was a few inches away “thanks, I owe you one.” Robert tried to disperse the sexual tension he felt “I can think of a few ways you can make it up to me” but he had no such luck.

Aaron couldn’t take any more he wanted to know what does lips tasted like; he stepped forward until they were a breath away. To his surprise despite his caution, Robert was the one to make the first move. The man gently placed his hands on Aaron’s cheeks holding him in place, touching their foreheads before bringing their lips together. Aaron could do nothing but hold the leather jacket that really suited the man as he felt his whole body burn by the kiss.

It felt like coming into a warm room after spending the whole day outside in the bitter and harsh cold of winter. The kiss was soft and almost tentative until the attraction became too much and they both wanted more. Aaron deepened the kiss aggressively demanding entrance into Robert’s mouth and the older man gave as good as he got.

Instead of being intimidated by the younger’s man aggression and urgency, Robert matched it even biting Aaron lower lip pulling a moan from the younger man, they walk backwards until they were on the trees side of the road. Aaron worked on taking the leather jacket off the man when a bark distracted them, Robert immediately pulled back “this was a bad idea…” he started to move back but Aaron grabbed the end of his jacket.    

“Everyone needs a bad idea once in a while to have fun.”

“I can’t, I’m getting married and I’m not…”

“So? You can still get married…eventually.”

Aaron smirked, the glint in his eyes made it clear exactly what he was suggesting but Robert wasn’t sure that he could. He tried so hard to fight the desire that made his father hate him, Robert knew that if he gave in then there was no going back. “I have to go” He rushed over to his car not turning back to see Aaron’s disappointment and frustration. As soon as he got in the car Peritas licked his face but he gently pushed him away and started the car driving away.

‘I definitely need to listen to Vic and stay away from Aaron Dingle.’

‘Can’t run forever Robert, I’m sure this itch I have could only be scratched by you.’


Later that night

Robert wasn’t sure what brought him to town but he had an itch that sleeping with Chrissie couldn’t scratch. He took a shower and made an excuse about meeting with Vic and waiting for Chrissie at the pub. He left Peritas in his private study/library where the dog’s bed and all his stuff was kept since Chrissie wanted no dog things to ruin her décor or dog hair in their room. Robert hated that he was forced to hide his companion and best friend like he was some shameful secret but if was also safe since he didn’t trust Lachlan.

He saw the ‘DINGLE & DINGLE’ sign for the village’s garage and he remembered what Aaron said about his uncle owning the garage and Aaron helping out. ‘I wonder if he’s in there’ before he could really think about it he walked over and was knocking on the closed door. Before he could regret his decision and turn back the door opened to the face of a smirking Aaron.

“What did your car break down again? Did you check the gas tank this time?”

Aaron walked inside leaving the door open for Robert to follow, despite his best judgement Robert walked in and closed the door after him. “My car is fine; I made sure to fill it up…” He felt awkward; the sexual tension was still there if anything it seemed stronger than before “then what do you want?” Aaron asked trying to seem busy, he had taken his uncle’s keys hoping that Robert would stop by the garage.

“I came to say sorry for…”

“Kissing me and not following through?”

Aaron stepped forward until he felt the heat of Robert’s body “for not doing something we both wanted?” Robert felt the same uncontrollable heat that made him lose control earlier rise inside him. “Why are you really here Robert?” Instead of responding Robert threw caution to the wind and crashed their lips together. This time when Aaron tried to take off his jacket, Robert let him even let the man unbutton his shirt.

Their breathing filled the small garage as they kissed like long lost lover reuniting after a long time apart. There was an animalistic passion in the way that Aaron grabbed him, like he was a lion digging his fangs into the neck of a potential mate and holding on. Aaron dominated the kiss until Robert fought him for it, to the blond man’s surprise Aaron gave in fairly quickly. ‘Someone likes to bottom…’ the moans Aaron let out as Robert kissed and bit his lip were more than enough proof.

‘…well if dominance is what he wants…’

Robert slammed the man against the car behind them moving one had to stroke the hard shaft inside black jeans. He put his hands inside fortunately baggy jeans and grabbed the hard shaft getting louder moan from the man under him. Robert stroke slowly and squeezed, loving the sounds that it pulled out of Aaron. The sounds soon became too much and Robert open the car door and pushed Aaron inside.

Aaron knew what was coming and rushed to take his pants off, half distracted by Robert pulling his long dick out of his trousers. The man stood there shirtless with trousers open and his dick hanging out half hard, it made Aaron almost cum just at the sight. He kicked off his shoes in a frenzy, he had never felt this desperate and out of control when it came to sex before. Robert leaned over him with a devilish smirk on his face.

Robert brought his fingers up to Aaron’s mouth silently ordering him to suck them, they both knew for what and Aaron felt his hole winked in anticipation, it’s been so long since he got a good fucking. Aaron never let himself enjoy it, feeling ashamed and connecting it to his past; a lick to the head of his dick pulled him back up from hell. Aaron was shocked that Robert was willing to do something like that but lost focus as wet fingers worked him open.

The fingers inside him plus the tongue on him were the sweetest torture Aaron had ever experience especially since they both pulled away when he got too close to the edge. “Rob…” Aaron was a mess of pleasure and desperation, he was just happy that in this moment none of his rivals or underbosses could see him like this. All those thoughts disappear when he felt something thicker than Robert’s fingers begin to push inside him.

The deeper Robert went the more breathless Aaron became, he felt his walls stretch in the most delicious way possible. Aaron wrapped his legs around Robert’s slim waist pulling the man deeper in. “Come on!...not made of glass” Aaron demanded and try to order Robert, not being able to give complete submission.

But his voice was breathless and it stuttered around his words as the fullness became all consuming. Robert instead of following his demand slowed down his movements even more; the slow drag was deliciously frustrating. “Wha…” Robert hit the spot that made Aaron in capable of speech “ask nicely and I might think about it.”

The man above him had a smarmy smirk that Aaron wanted to punch and kiss at the same time, it made his blue/grey eyes shine with an almost pure joy and made Aaron’s heart skip a beat. Robert hit that special spot inside him again and it made Aaron incapable of saying anything but “please” as the slow pleasure was driving him crazy.

“See now was that so hard.”

Again before Aaron could give a snide remark Robert slammed into him so hard that he hit his head on the door of the car. He used his hand to stop it from happening but then Robert flipped him over and pulled his hips up slamming back into him. The sound of Aaron’s cheeks hitting Robert’s pelvis was obscene in the best way possible. Feeling the car move under the blond man’s hard thrust made Aaron delirious with pleasure.

‘It never felt this good…’

Before Aaron knew it, his cum was painting the back seat of the car. Robert continued to slam into him hitting his sweet spot like a jackhammer, prolonging Aaron’s orgasm to an almost unbearably electrifying degree. His vision blurred and just when it was beginning to get painful as his dick made a valiant effort to join Robert, the man’s thrust became frantic and soon Aaron felt the warm fluid filled him up pulling a moan out of him as he felt full and dirty all at the same time.

The air in the garage once the afterglow left them was tense in a different kind of way as Aaron put on his clothes and rested his sore arse on the car seat after cleaning his cum from the seat, he was giving his legs a chance to stop shaking. He watched as Robert put on his shirt “don’t worry you don’t need to stick around. This was simply about scratching an itch we both had.” Aaron said making sure that there was no miscommunication or confusion between them.

“Glad we cleared that up, I’m getting married and I don’t need anything messing that up.”

“Out of curiosity does she know, that you’re bisexual or whatever you are?”

“I’m straight and she doesn’t need to know everything about me…” Robert snapped remembering how Chrissie doesn’t know about his condition and the real reason he has Peritas.

Aaron just chuckled sarcastically “that sounds like the makings of a very healthy marriage” it amused him to see how far in the closet Robert truly was. The man would soon learn what Aaron did and it was that he couldn’t run from or hide what he was forever ‘but then again that’s not my problem.’ Robert glared at the man “Are you married or a marriage counselor by any chance?” Aaron knew he hit a nerve “not really.”

“Then why are we talking about this?”

Aaron didn’t really have an answer for that, he didn’t know why he brought up the issue when he wanted nothing more than a one off. There was just something about Robert that made the mobster feel comfortable which for someone like Aaron it was a dangerous and even fatal mistake, so he let the blond man walk away. A small part of him knew that one time with Robert wouldn’t be enough and what they just did was much more than a simple one off.


The Woolpack

Aaron was standing at the bar enjoying a pint, feeling deliciously relaxed after releasing some tension. He saw Robert come and stand at the other side of the bar ordering a pint and a glass of white wine. They both ignored each other as much as possible although they could both feel the tension in between them, it didn’t help that their eyes were drawn to each other like moths to flames.

Victoria joined the tall man and pulled him to a table getting an exasperated look from her big brother for being manhandle. “Where have you been?” the question made Robert look up at Aaron’s back “oh just walking around, got a little lost seems like the village has changed a lot more than I though.” The was the perfect answer to distract Victoria and get her off the subject, his little sister was a bloodhound when she smelled some sort of secret or lie.

He loved her but she could be a busybody, a trait that he found annoying most of the time although the stubbornness was definitely a Sugden trait. Even though he tried to focus on his sister, Robert was hyper aware of all of Aaron’s movements like when he moved to the corner of the bar. He made the mistake of looking up and saw blue eyes staring right back of him, the younger man didn’t even turn away after being caught instead he smirked.

“Robert! Are you listening?”

“No” the honest answer got him a hard hit in the arm. “What has you so distracted?”

“Nothing, just not interested in any gossip or drama instead tell me about your life and all I’ve missed.”

Aaron tried to keep his eyes away from the man but he realized that the pull didn’t go away just because they had sex. The desired calmed down but Robert still intrigued him; he was distracted by Adam tapping his shoulders. “One of our mates is here to see you” Aaron knew what that meant so he finished his pint and went to the back room feeling Robert’s gaze as he walked away.


In the backroom a man in jeans and a hoodie stood in the living room looking comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time, his hair was perfectly comb not a strand out of place which made the clothes he wore seem almost wrong. “What a surprise to see you here?” [We weren’t supposed to meet here, why are you here?] despite his proper image the made smiled casually as if they were long lost friends.

“I was in the area and I remembered you lived around here. I decided to go for it and see if I could find you.” [I found the information you requested faster than expected and decided to take a risk to bring it over]

Aaron laughed but there was a dark tone to his laughter that did not speak of amusement “mate I haven’t seen you in so long, what are you doing around here?” [I’m not happy. Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you.] Everyone knew that business was kept out of Emmerdale; it was very rare for Aaron or the Dingles to bring business to the village. If it was an emergency that couldn’t be taken outside the village or to the factory then he moved them to the barn at Wishing Well but never the pub.

That was the one rule that all Dingles head bosses kept, it was not only to keep their security and privacy but also for protection. Inside the village they and their own were safe; Emmerdale was off limits like a force field protected hidden safe house.

It would be dangerous if their enemies and even their allies found out about Emmerdale so they were very strict with this rule. Only very close few knew about Emmerdale’s connection to the Dingle crime family and every boss even Chas had killed anyone that had dare step into the village without permission.

“I come bearing gifts; I know you love to read.” [I felt it was important that you read this]

“Must be a good book…” [It better be important]

“It’s an exciting and long book.” [There is a lot that could become a problem]

Every word was coded to mean something else so that to other people it would sound like a regular conversation between good friends. It was a code only known between Debbie, Aaron and their closest soldiers; it was mostly the hackers and agents they had in MI-6. Aaron snatched the papers from the man watching the fear flash briefly in his eyes. It was a new high to see an agent trained to handle torture and death, fear him. Aaron always felt weak as a kid, not being the easily swashed ant felt refreshing.

ROBER JACOB SUGDEN

Aaron saw the basic information like age, height, physical appearance and bypass that since he already knew them and some he got to touch. After that there was family information and career information which was very normal expect for the gap in between leaving Emmerdale and moving in with his grandmother to Barcelona.  So far Aaron wasn’t finding anything urgent enough to forgive the transgression.

“It’s on the next page.”

MEDICAL RECORD

Aaron turned the page to see the bold words still not knowing what was important about Robert’s medical record that would interest him especially when he saw the man had no sexually transmitted diseases. Robert was healthy except for the fact that he takes a cocktail of pills that Aaron didn’t really recognized and he wonder what they were for since the man was pretty healthy. To his surprise the dog was in his medical record under medication ‘so not a pet, a service animal but for what?’ It was lower at the bottom of the page that he saw why

Patient had been diagnosis with manic depression…(bipolar disorder)

To the side in pen Aaron could see the soldier explained what was manic depression because Aaron honestly though it was something else. The next pages were a long list of treatment trials and notes from psychologist, it looked like they tried a lot of treatments “can’t be cure but it can be treated with the right combination of medication and psychotherapy.” The soldier softly added most likely seeing the confusion in Aaron’s eyes.

“It’s all about getting the combination right…”

Aaron ignored the psychologist’s notes because a part of him knew that would take it too far, his inner most thoughts were personal and Aaron didn’t want to violate that ‘since when do I care about other people’s privacy.’ With Robert for some reason it was different, he wanted to know all this but he wanted to hear it from the man himself. He ignored the notes and turned to the last few pages which seemed to be a combination of police reports that were interesting.

…broke into closed bakery…baked 214 cupcakes, ate 57 before morning…

…found swimming in the Thames…naked…

…passed out after cleaning street for three days…

…robbed…shopping spree…

…jumper….Tower Bridge

…stole dog…found in Bristol…

They were a list of the things Robert had been caught doing during his manic episodes as it explained at the top, it was a long list and some of the things made even Aaron raise his eyebrows. He figured that was what the soldier meant about Robert possibly being dangerous, it seemed that the man had no control when manic which could be dangerous for the business and the people in the village.

“Very good book, I like it.” [You did good, don’t do it again.]

The soldier realized that his life was forgiven and he let himself release a sigh of relief “you should get on the road before it gets too late” [leave before I change mind and kill you.] The soldier nodded briefly in respect before leaving, Aaron took another look at the files before lighting them on fire and throwing them in the fire place. He learned all he wanted to know and one thing he learned from the family business was to always destroy anything that could lead to him or get him in trouble, once he got the information the document became useless unless it was for black mail. He doesn’t know why he kept the long list of incidents, for blackmail or for something else.

‘Robert Sugden can you really be a one off for me…?’


A few days later

Aaron was right, it only took them two days and they were making out in the bathroom at the Woolpack. Robert kept fighting it but Aaron wasn’t one to give up, it also helped that their attraction was so strong. For a few days they shared looks and stolen kisses in corners around the village but they both wanted more, the itch was back and kisses weren’t enough anymore.

To Aaron’s shock and his own, Robert was the one to make the first move…again. After another argument with Chrissie where she belittled him while Lawrence and Lachlan laughed at his expense, Robert was pissed. He walked into the pub looking for Aaron and not finding him; he snuck into the back room and caught him coming down the stairs. “Robert what are…?” Robert was all instinct; he crashed their lips together in a passionate kiss that involved a lot of tongue and teeth.

“Upstairs”

It was all he ordered when they pulled back to breath before rushed up the stairs skipping steps not even making sure that Aaron was following. It wasn’t arrogance or even confidence, it was a combination of blind rage, frustration, built up desire and something more that he couldn’t name and didn’t want to. Robert was scare of how intense he was drawn to Aaron or how right it felt to be with the man, it could ruin everything he worked so hard for but he couldn’t give it up, he didn’t want to.

‘It’s the one time I feel in control and free…’

Aaron soon joined him as expected and they got lost in each other forgetting expectations, responsibilities and their one off agreement. It was definitely not a one off and they both knew that but they couldn’t help think that as long as they kept it casual, they should both be fine. Aaron couldn’t afford falling and losing someone again while Robert couldn’t be alone and ashamed any more.

‘It’s fine, we just have to keep it casually controlled…that’s easy…’

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Aaron watched the field of cream that was covered in brown spots like stars in the night sky, he softly ran his finger from one to the other trying to connect them some way “their not constellations you know.” The soft amused voice made him look up broad shoulders, slim neck and full head of hair like wheat field in the sun. “They look like it…” Aaron pointed to a bigger one by the left shoulder “…see this one is the big dipper and…”  Aaron ran his finger through the freckled back “…this is the little dipper.”

Robert turned so that Aaron could see as he rolled his eyes “you know nothing of astrology do you?” Aaron just smirked before leaning in and marking the stars on Robert’s back with his lips. They were both exhausted and Aaron was deliciously sore from their third ‘or was it fourth?’ round. He knew he was going to be walking with a limp, it was probably the reason why Robert was so relax and smug.

‘Smarmy prat’

Aaron thought fondly which was becoming more and more frequent whenever he thought of the older man ‘it was becoming a problem.’ They couldn’t keep their hands off each other, they both began going on ‘business’ trips to get some privacy. Debbie was the only one that knew what was really going on since she was his second and she began to get suspicious after the third unannounced business trip.

“You can still take more!?”

“What? Can’t give more, old man?”

Aaron smirked like the little shit he was as Robert glared at him; they both knew that getting old was a touchy subject for the slightly vain man which is why Aaron used it every time he wanted to rile him up. Robert pulled a smirking Aaron down until the man was lying on the bed and Robert could get on top of him. “I’ll show you old” Robert kissed Aaron until he was so breathless that black spots began to form in his vision, to end he bit his bottom lip and pull knowing that it will be bright red and swollen later.

“I’m going to show you to respect your elders.”

Robert began by kissing and biting down Aaron’s neck, over the weeks he learned that the man liked it rough enough to feel it but not too much to bleed or cause pain. It was a struggle to find the perfect balance but when they did find it there was no turning back, Robert played Aaron’s body like a prodigy musician playing the piano. Robert traveled down broad shoulders to focus on Aaron’s weakness.

“Rob…”

Aaron always became a mess when Robert played with his nipples “so sensitive…” Robert teased as he licked them like they were the delicious caramel drops he bought on his trip to Vienna. He couldn’t get enough of them and based on the moans Aaron was letting out the younger man was also enjoying it. Robert bit the erected nipple before pulling it with his teeth until Aaron whole chest arched following the movement. “Fuck…Rob” Aaron was having a hard time keeping it together.

Robert smirked as he continued to tease the younger man until he was a mess of moans and sweat, he bit and sucked until they were erected and bright red. “You should get them pierce, I’ll love to pull on that” Aaron moan at the image of Robert pulling on nipple rings even though they both knew he wasn’t going to get them. Robert though it was because he was scare of needles but Aaron knew that for him it was a dangerous road that he almost turn down when the abuse first started.

Soft kisses traveled down his chest and stomach to the border of his dark pubs, it made Aaron forget any dark thoughts or unwanted memories. He was with Robert and everything was better when he was with Robert. “Rob, stop teasing…” In response Robert licked a thick vein up Aaron’s dick before sticking the tip of his tongue into the wet slit getting a direct taste of the pre-cum leaking out. The sounds reached a new pitch, it made Robert’s dick make a brave attempt to join the younger man but he wasn’t there ‘yet.’

His love for candy and anything sweet made Robert great at blowjobs, his tongue was used to doing gymnastics for a sweet treat. All the practice he got in college also helped but Aaron didn’t need to know that. He focused on teasing and torturing the cheeky brat that dared call him old, Robert kept running his tongue up and down sucking on the head when Aaron’s moans became desperate. “You’ll get us kicked out…” Robert didn’t really sound like he care and neither did Aaron.

“Don’t care! Fuck me already!”

Robert laughed but he lubed up his fingers and got to work although he couldn’t help but tease Aaron more by teasing his stretched hole. “Look at that you’re still wide open” with his two thumbs Robert stretched the hole to see how wide he could open it “Rob!” Then he wrapped one hand tightly around the base of Aaron’s dick to stop him from getting the release the younger man yearned for while the other one was used to keep the twitching hole open.

Aaron was in heaven and hell all at the same time and he loved every second of it, he had no control yet at the same time with Robert he had all the control. It was a delicious contradiction that worked perfectly for Aaron and Robert as well. Then the last trace of rational thought left Aaron and his mind went blank as he felt the wet and softness of Robert’s tongue wiggle at his entrance.

“Holy Fuck!”

The feeling was strange and new yet it send a shock up his spine making him arch of the bed. No one had ever done that to Aaron and he wasn’t sure if he liked it but then the tip of Robert’s tongue breeched and wiggled inside him and his decision was made “fuck! Don’t stop!” Robert proceeded to drive Aaron crazy with pleasure ‘is that his tongue or a snake?’ It felt like hours of Robert’s tongue when his fingers joined and Aaron was officially ruined by the man that literally had Aaron’s balls in his mouth.

‘Going to be hard to let this one go’


Aaron was deliciously sore, Robert had tortured him for what felt like hours bringing him to the edge and pulling him back as he was about to fall. Robert kept him there until he was ready to go again and then he fucked him hard and leaving Aaron comatose for a few hours ‘I’m pretty sure I came twice.’ The memory alone makes Aaron shiver and keeps him more relax than a joint ever did which should have been another red flag.

The other one should’ve been the fact that he tended to share things with Robert that he otherwise wouldn’t with anyone else sometimes not even himself. “With you I can let go” The man had just smirked and swallow Aaron’s dick until it hit the back of his throat. The smirk was another red flag or more specific how attractive he found it instead of annoying. Aaron was learning that Robert communicated through smirks.

“Your face is going to get stuck that way.” Aaron teased but he tried to memorize each one and figure out what they meant.

“There are worse ways in which my face could be stuck, mum.”

That was another thing, Robert had an answer or snarky comment for everything, absolutely nothing stump the man.  It was annoying, amusing and impressive all in one, Robert was the picture perfect image of what normal people thought a bad boy was, looks included. Yet Aaron was slowly learning that there was so much more to the man than what people saw and believed.

In the bedroom, when it was just them Robert was open, considerate, and patient yet dominant; the man took control so naturally that they didn’t even need to have the conversation of who tops. In fact the only conversation they had was when they talked about their turn-offs, other than that they had been able to read each and know what the other needed before they could even voice it.

They just naturally fall into their roles, Robert knew Aaron needed to be submissive and give control while Aaron knew that with everything so out of control in his life Robert needed to be dominant and in control. “…ron…Aaron!” Chas’ voice snapped him out of his thoughts “what?” he realized that he had gotten so lost in thought that he had not listened to what his mother was saying.

“I’ve been talking to you, have you been listening? What’s wrong?”

“I wasn’t listening; there were other things in my mind.”

“Is everything okay?”

“No worse than usual”

Chas hated that about her son, he was an expert at responding to questions without really giving any information which she thought shouldn’t be possible. “I was just saying that it would be nice to have a date for Andy and Katie’s wedding…” The last few days Aaron had been in a good mood and Chas decided to take advantage of that by bringing up the topic of Finn. “Then get one, what are you expecting me to play matchmaker?” Aaron shrugged his shoulders in annoyance.

“No, I meant for you…It would be nice for you to find a date.”

“…” Aaron raised an eyebrow, having an idea of where the woman was going with everything and he decided to see how far she would take it.

“You know Finn has recently come out as gay. He’s smart, sweet, patient and good looking, most of all I heard he was also single…”

And there it was Chas Dingle had reached her destination that was where she wanted to take him. The woman wanted to play matchmaker out of some deluded idea that dating would mellow Aaron out. Before Aaron could snarl something, the back door to the pub opened “give me a pint and a glass of white wine” Robert demanded rudely interrupting their conversation and not really caring “how about you ask nicely and I might think about it” Chas glared at the man.

“How about you learn customer service and I might give you my money.”

Robert didn’t miss a beat giving the woman the smirk that made people want to punch him especially people that already hated him. Aaron wanted to smirk at the man’s snark, he found it charming. Chas pursed her lips and glared but still turned around to get the order ready while she had her back to them Robert send him the ‘I’m hot and  I know you think so’ smirk.

Aaron rolled his eyes and bit his lip to stop himself from smiling and inviting the older man to his room upstairs or even the bathroom. Instead Aaron blatantly checked the man out; he was wearing jeans that fit him perfectly with a light blue shirt that brought out the blue in his eyes and a leather jacket. Just looking at him in all his confidence made the itch inside Aaron return full force, he wanted to be taken and slam against “did you wait long?”

Everything was broken by Chrissie coming in and walking over to Robert and wrapping her arms around him, taking the older man’s attention “No, just got here actually.” Robert didn’t miss a beat, like he wasn’t just I flirting with another man. Instead he held her in his arms and looked into her eyes like a man deeply in love. Aaron glared at the couple especially at Chrissie’s arms on Robert’s back, at first he was fine with sharing Robert mainly because Robert wasn’t his the same way that he wasn’t Robert’s.

“Here” Chas placed a glass of wine but slammed the pint on the bar getting the attention of the two lover birds.

“You ordered for me!? Thanks, you’re so sweet.”

Chrissie smiled adoringly at her fiancé while Robert smiled like her happiness actually meant something to him. Aaron glared and even worse when Chrissie got on her tip toes and actually kissed him with a soft and gentleness that would make most think they were in love. Aaron felt the dark feeling push back as he stared at the hands on Robert and envision ripping them off and breaking them. He knew that he couldn’t do anything mainly because it would blow his cover but also because they agreed that their thing was only temporary.

“I’m not cheating once I get married…”

‘Robert made it clear; once we get each other out of our system we’re moving on.’

Aaron was having a harder time believing that as their affair went on, while Aaron held his pint so hard he almost crushed it his mother was scheme of ways to get him and Finn together, she was sure that once she got them to talk Aaron would fall for the shy man. She was unaware that in his mind Aaron was breaking Chrissie’s arms and pulling them away from Robert.

“They look cute together; it’s too bad he’s just using her. She seems to really love him”

Aaron finally turned to his mother who was now looking at the couple that seemed lost in their own lovey dovey world. “What do you mean? Did you hear something?” He was ashamed that a part of him was actually excited about the idea even though they both agreed that what they have was only about pleasure. “I don’t have to, I know Robert Sugden and how he operates” At this response Aaron rolled his eyes, he was annoyed by how judgmental the village seems to be of Robert.

‘They didn’t even know me yet I was accepted faster than him.’


Aaron turned to the other end of the bar where the couple stood only to see Robert staring back at him as Chrissie talked. Aaron made sure that his face didn’t give away the emotions he was feeling at seeing Robert with someone else. Robert turned and whispered something to Chrissie before getting up and walking to the bathroom. A few seconds later Aaron followed him, unable to resist having a moment alone with Robert.

“Wonder…does she know how sensitive your neck is?”

Aaron walked over behind Robert who was washing his hands and wrapped his arms around the taller man’s waist. He kissed the back of Robert’s neck getting a pleased hum from the man, Aaron pulled Robert’s shirt out of his pants so that he could feel the taller man’s soft and warm skin. “Tell me Robert, does she?” The man shivered as Aaron’s hands moved to the bulge in his pants and squeezed.

“Chrissie…doesn’t…”

Aaron knew what he was doing; he knew that he was trying to assert that Robert was his, that only he got to see Robert at his most vulnerable. Aaron doesn’t know what came over him, he wasn’t a jealous person and at first he didn’t have much of a problem with Robert being engage but now it bothered him and he didn’t want to share the man. After getting a glimpse of the Robert behind the iron mask, Aaron wanted more and he wanted to be the only one to get it.

That was the reason he unashamedly dropped to his knees and opened the man’s pants, pulling his half hard dick. “That’s right, remember she can’t give you what I can” Aaron declared before taking the man into his mouth, he had to hurry before someone walked in since they were out in the open. “Aaron…someone…might” Robert try valiantly to summon the strength to fight the pleasure but he failed and he wasn’t too disappointed by it.

Aaron sucked with urgency like the man’s dick was holding some lifesaving medicine that he needed. He couldn’t take all of Robert in because the man was too long but damn it, if he wasn’t going to try. The slight gagging filled the air of the otherwise silent bathroom, it was so obscene and erotic that Aaron felt his dick twitch ‘I can’t cum from just sucking him off…’ It was impossible as much as he was attracted to Robert and the man drove him wild, Aaron had never cum without being touched.

Then he felt Robert’s long fingers bury themselves in his hair at first just holding “God your mouth is perfect…” but as he grew more desperate, Robert used his hold as leverage to move Aaron at his speed. “Come on, I know you can take more” With those words Robert was practically throat fucking a gagging Aaron ‘I should hate this, why does it feel so good.’ Maybe it was because despite his roughness and hard hold, Robert’s voice held so much affection and pride that Aaron wanted to hear it more.

‘There is definitely a dark reason for that somewhere but I really don’t want to go there.’

Aaron could feel by Robert’s speed that the man was close and Aaron braced himself on the man’s tone thighs. “Can you cum for me, just like this Aaron. On your knees, mouth stuffed with my dick as my cum runs down your throat.” Aaron gagging was getting louder and he squeeze Robert’s thigh as his dick ache in desperation. He couldn’t do it, he had to touch himself or else he would just stay painfully hard.

“Come on; don’t make me think I fell for a quitter.”

And that was it, the magic words that Aaron didn’t know he needed or would drive him to the edge. To hear Robert’s confession was such a trill that Aaron came in his pants and blanked out for a moment as he felt Robert’s dick explode and the man’s cum fill his mouth. In his dazed stage Aaron subconsciously swallowed every last drop even licking his lips as if he was given some sweet dessert custard.

“Bloody hell Dingle, you’ll be the death of me.”

Robert help a shaky Aaron to his feet and lead the man to a stall, the younger man seemed to still be in a daze so Robert lowered his pants and clean as much cum as possible. He took some cum in his fingered and sucked on them making Aaron give a pitiful moan. Robert smirk before continuing to clean the man, the pants (AN: If I remembered correctly in England this it underwear) were a lost cause but at least it didn’t seep into the jeans.

Robert took his pocket square and dried Aaron’s face after cleaning it with some water “can you walk?” He tried to gage how lucid Aaron was, not wanting to leave him alone. It took a few minutes before Aaron was able to formulate a response “yea, I’m good.” Robert stood him up, not completely sold but knowing that they had been gone too long. “I have to go” Aaron hid his disappointment “yea, go ahead. I’m good, I got what I wanted.”

Aaron’s nonchalant attitude didn’t really convince Robert but the man let it go, after looking the younger man over one last time he walked out the bathroom. It was perfect timing as someone walked in, Aaron hid in the stall for a few seconds. Once outside he saw Chrissie once again all over Robert but this time he smirk because he could taste Robert in his mouth and he knew that Robert still had Aaron’s taste in his own.

Chrissie may think Robert was hers but the taste on Aaron’s mouth and what happened in the bathroom says otherwise. He thought about the words that he was sure Robert let slip out, the words that pushed him over the edge “everything okay love?” His mother looked at him with worry “yea, everything’s perfect.”  A doubtful Chas went to take care of other customers so she missed when the young girl that helped at the pub part time placed an orange juice in front of him.

“I didn’t order this…”

“The man over there sent it over” she pointed to Robert who seemed focused on a conversation with Chrissie and Victoria who had joined them at some time.

Drink it!          

He checked his phone and saw the plain text from Robert, at first he was confused until Charity walked by “what’s with the juice? You have low blood sugar or something?” Aaron realized what Robert was doing and he felt a warm feeling inside him “or something.” Aaron hide his smile in the cup of orange juice as he drank it all; when he put it down he saw Robert smirked at him, the pride was clear in his eyes. Aaron shook his head and put his signature grumpy face so that the smug man doesn’t realize how much his gesture affected Aaron.

Soo bossy

People have died for less.

You’re not as scary as you'll like to believe.

Aaron smirked at the response ‘oh if you only knew…’


A few months later

It was a few days before Andy’s wedding and Robert was over being back home, not only was everyone watching him expecting him to fail but Chrissie had been more insufferable that usual with her snide remarks about Robert’s lack of wealth or upbringing. Lawrence was at least more distracted by his own issues and Lachlan was also distracted with teen angst ‘thank god for small mercies.’

But that was where the mercies ended, with Andy’s wedding preparation Chrissie was hit by the bug, even worse the woman had become friends with Katie which meant that Robert was constantly being stressed by Chrissie about things that Katie had told him, “Robert did you really…” and “Robert I can’t believe you…” that was all he heard for the last few weeks. To make matters worse, Diane had the audacity to give Andy his mother’s ring and it made him furious. (AN: I found this very fucked up in the show, I think Robert was justify in his anger.)

Yea seems logical to give the killer his victim’s possessions…” The smile on Andy’s face evaporated as he heard Robert’s whispered words and it made Robert smirk.

“If anyone deserves the last thing we have from mum it’s him, right Andy? You’ve earned it”

Robert gave his brother an innocent smile hoping that in his eyes Andy saw the fire that killed their mum. Andy avoided his eyes and Robert felt a sick satisfaction at that, Katie glared not knowing what he was talking about(AN: I don’t remember if Andy told Katie and frankly I don’t like the woman so I didn't go back and check. I felt her obsession with Robert was never addressed, it was not her business what went on in his relationship. It might be an unpopular opinion but I didn’t really care that she died. She needed to mind her own business, it was weird to me that despite getting forgiven and moving on she was still hung up on Robert) but she didn’t really care ‘she didn’t really need a reason to make me the villain.’

“Oh come off it Robert, Andy is more of a man and a better son than you ever was”

“If you really believed that you wouldn’t have opened your legs to me so easily.”

“Robert! What is wrong with you!?” Of course that was the moment Diane decides to intervene which made him roll his eyes.

“…Many things but no less than everyone else, why do you ask?” Robert responded casually, unbothered by her tone, words or the indignation in the family and eavesdroppers face. Aaron who was sitting by the bar smirking at the man’s cheek.

Diane was speechless, she didn’t really expect such a cavalier attitude from the young man “how could you say that?” this time it was Victoria that exclaimed with a softer tone “I only play nice with people that bother to act like adults and not spiteful cows that can’t move on.” He spit out the last part at Katie who took a step back as Andy got in front of her and glared at Robert ready to fight.

“Congratulations on the ring…” he smirked at Katie “…it’s fire proof, isn’t it Andy?” the man in question flinched away as if he was slapped.


Robert walked out the pub and fast walked until he was away from it all before bending down and trying to catch his breath. “Fuck!” He was regretting leaving Peritas home in that moment more than ever, he could feel his whole body shaking as memories of fire and screams tried to resurface. “Robert…You have to breathe…” Aaron soft voice burst through the haze “…Everything is okay…Their not here, it’s just you and me.” The reassurance worked better than Robert expected it to.

Aaron was glad he snuck out and followed the man, who was so close to having a panic attack when he found him. He led the tall man to his car and sat him in the passenger seat, a run usually helped him clear his head but he wasn’t sure a run was the best thing for Robert. Silence in the car wasn’t uncomfortable mainly because Aaron was focused on Robert and Robert was focused on getting his shit together.

“He set the fire that killed our mum…”

After what felt like hours of silence, Robert broke it first emotion still clear in his voice “…he took away the only person to see and love me yet he’s rewarded for it…” the ‘while I’m punished’ was left unsaid but they both heard it. “Everyone thinks I’m just jealous of him…” Robert continued talking “and you’re not?” Aaron took the risk and decided to ask hoping that it wouldn’t make Robert close back up.

“No, maybe when we were younger but after that…I hated him for getting away with destroying my world and my father for covering it up.”

“…”

“There are many other reasons why I hate my father but that’s one of the main ones.”

Aaron hated hearing the shame in Robert’s voice as if he was a bad son for hating his father for being an arsehole and bad parent. “Where are you taking me? Should I be worry?” Before Aaron could say anything Robert spoke up trying to lighten the mood. “I don’t know, where do you want to go?” Robert actually seemed to think about it “I can’t go home; Katie probably called Chrissie to complain.” The exasperation in Robert’s tone made Aaron angry at Katie; he needed to find out what was the woman’s real problem with Robert.

‘She got Andy and is about to get married why is she still so obsessed with Robert and what he does?’

Aaron didn’t like the answer that his mind provided for him “then I won’t take you home.”  Robert smiled for a brief moment “Peritas, I don’t really like leaving him over night for too long I don’t trust Lachlan…” Suddenly Aaron understood why their ‘trips’ were no longer than a day before Robert insisted he had to go back. Aaron had always thought it was about Chrissie but he realized it was the dog.

‘Makes sense if Peritas is a service dog than Robert would need him with him at all times.’

Aaron wanted to ask why Robert kept leaving the dog when going out in public or when they went on their trips, Aaron had no problem getting a suite where the dog could stay in the living room while they enjoyed the bedroom. “We’ll go get him then” Robert raised his eyebrow “how are we going to get him without getting caught.” Aaron parked off to the side “wait here” normally Robert would argue but Aaron tone left no room for arguments.

He walked up to the house staying out of the light, Aaron was familiar with Home Farm since it used to belong to his family so he walked around the side of the house to the kitchen door. Aaron smiled when he saw the doggy door; he crouched to the side and whistled “Peritas” he called softly and whistle again. A dog’s hearing was sharper than a human’s and they always investigated any strange sounds, guards dogs like German Shepard's were even more so.

This was proven when a whiskey colored head popped out the doggy door and look around “hey boy, remember me?” Aaron could tell from the movements of the dog’s body that he was wagging his tail which should be a good sign. “Come on boy, Robert is waiting” the dog seemed to understand his human’s name and stepped completely out the door in excitement. Aaron walked away towards the car before anyone decided to check on the dog.

Not hearing any tracks following him, Aaron turned around to see the dog still sitting by the door. He realized that just because the dog knew him didn’t mean that he would follow him so Aaron called Robert “need a little help.” The dog’s head turned in curiosity “should I come…?” his ears perked up as if hearing his humans voice “no, just talk to him.” Aaron walked backwards with the phone in his hand “Peritas come.”  The dog followed the voice eagerly; somehow they made it without being caught.

Once Peritas saw the car, Aaron was completely ignored as the dog ran to his human who opened the door for him to jump in. “I’m sorry buddy, I don’t like leaving you either. I really needed you this time, I’m sorry…so sorry…” Aaron pretended not to hear Robert’s whispered words or the emotions that filled his voice. Instead Aaron started the car and drove away before they drew attention.

“Where are we going?”

“A place where we can all unwind”


They stopped at a high rise in Hotten that Robert didn’t recognize “where are we?” there wasn’t any worry in his voice just curiosity. “My place” Aaron responded before getting out of the car, leaving an even more confuse Robert. “Your place? I though you lived on top of the pub…”  Robert opened the door for Peritas who stuck to his side like glue; the dog sensed his chaotic emotions. Instead of answering Aaron led them inside and to the elevator, Robert missed Aaron glaring at the door man who was about to complain about the massive dog.

To Robert’s shock the apartment fit the rest of the buildings décor with a mix of modern and traditional, it was nothing like he expected Aaron to have. The man seemed more of the black walls, kind of frat house or bachelor pad décor than an actual design style. “This is nice” Aaron rolled his eyes “don’t sound so surprise, I actually have style.” Robert looked at the black trainers, baggy black jeans and oversized hoodie “do you?”

“Well I slept with you so maybe you’re right.”

Aaron teased back “please, sleeping with me is the only tasteful thing you’ve ever done.” Robert could never stay quiet and not have the last word, it didn’t really bothered Aaron as much as it did others instead he found it endearing. The blond man walked around exploring the place spending a little more time in the kitchen. Based on the heart eyes that Aaron could see, the blond liked to cook because no one but someone who liked to cook would get so excited about a kitchen.

By far Robert’s favorite part of the flat was Aaron’s bathroom more precisely his bathtub “this is amazing!” The man immediately made himself at home by preparing himself a bath which made Aaron raised his eyebrow “sure make yourself at home…” He said sarcastically but was ignored by Robert who began undressing and Peritas who jumped on the bed. “Really!? No respect!” He exclaimed getting an unimpressed look from both dog and human “oh stop complaining and come join me or you can close the door and continue talking to yourself.”

Robert stood at the door of the bathroom in all his naked glory and Aaron didn’t need to be asked twice. He practically ripped his clothes off and joined the man who had gotten in, baths weren’t really his thing but sitting there leaning against Robert’s chest ‘I might change my mind if I have good company.’ For a while all they did was sit there letting the warm bath calmed them down, “should really buy some oils and bubble baths…” Aaron felt himself droop and relax something he had never done with anyone else. Robert let the water calm him down and focused on Aaron’s warm skin and Peritas’ presence nearby.

Aaron was snapped from his relaxed stage by Peritas big head leaning on the edge of the tub “what the…!?” The dog just grinned and wagged his tail as if he didn’t just surprise Aaron and make him jump. Aaron’s exclamation made Robert open his eyes and slowly lift his head form where it was leaning on the bathtub. The older man smiled “it’s okay Peritas, I’m better, at ease…” he commanded the dog adding a “…good boy.” The dog turned around and walked out the bathroom most likely getting on the bed and taking a nap.

“You got him trained really well” Aaron added knowing why the dog was so well trained but not giving anything away, he wanted to see what Robert would say.

“I didn’t actually train him although he is train for me…”

“You took him to those posh places?”

“No, Peritas is actually a service dog…” Robert is not sure why he said that while Aaron was shock that the man admitted it.

“And they named him Peritas?” Aaron decided to give the man a break and not force him to confess something that was clearly a touchy subject ‘I already know anyways.’

Robert was surprised that Aaron didn’t push him for more information, he knew that it was not because the younger man had no idea what a service dog was despite what others in the village may say Aaron wasn’t daft. When people heard service dog they couldn’t control their curiosity and often asked what was wrong with him especially since his condition wasn’t obvious. A big part of Robert appreciated the younger man for being considerate and giving him a choice.

“I actually named him.”


Flashback

Robert was nervous; he had been called by the service dog organization to tell him that they had a dog for him. He was surprised because he thought it would take much longer, service dogs for bipolar disorder were not as common so they have a smaller inventory than service dogs for those visually impaired or hearing impaired. In fact he was prepared for the long wait so when he got the notice, it took him a while to process.

“We have a possible candidate from our new litter, normally we would train the animals and then they would meet their charge but it’s different for each condition…”

He knew what they meant; they wanted to make sure that the dog could deal with his special kind of crazy. Not everyone can stand to deal with him on a regular basis let alone when he was having one of his episodes so he understood it. That was why he walked in with trepidation, dogs loved everyone and if he was rejected by a dog then what would that mean for him ‘I’m moving to a cabin in the woods and becoming a hermit.’

The place was loud filled with dogs barking and humans talking, it was a lot to say the least. He felt his eyes blurred as his senses became overwhelmed, it probably didn’t help that he had recently come out of a really bad depressive episode and the aftereffects were still lingering. “Mr. Sugden welcome, sorry for all the noise” A small woman rushed over to him, her voice was soft and gentle. She steered him away from everything almost as if knowing what was going on, she took him to a room where the noise was muffled and he felt like he could breathe again.

“Will be right back with him, wait here.”

He wanted to say something smart but decided against it mainly because he was not 100% and he just wanted to go home. The woman walked back in carrying a small German Shepard puppy with giant ears and a tiny body, even to Robert who didn’t know a lot about German Shepherds, the puppy seemed small. “He’s the runt of the litter, we think he will be too small for any of our other programs but if you two connect…”

Robert glared at the dog; he hated the idea of being given the scraps that no one else wanted. The dog turned his head in a way that was too adorable even for Robert in his current mood, she put the dog down and he rushed to Robert’s side. At first he ignored the runt but the little guy was stubborn and persistent, it reminded him of when he was younger chasing after his father’s approval.

“You know that doesn’t work, it only leads to disappointment and heartbreak.”

Again the dog did the head tilt except that this time he tilted too far and the weight of his massive ears knocked him down. Robert shook his head; he was having less and less confidence that the runt could actually help him with anything except picking up girls. It was unfair at Robert was in his early 20s and already branded for life. He was determined to ignore the dog but the dog was determined to not be ignored.

Suddenly he felt a wetness on his thigh “Oh my god!” the woman exclaimed and Robert looked down to see the dog looking at him smugly. The woman rushed to get paper towels to help dry him while apologizing over and over like Robert was a ticking time bomb about to explode. But Robert was distracted; there was a defiance and strength in the big brown eyes that felt old and wise yet reckless and mischievous.

“Peritas…”

“Excuse me?”

“His name…it’s Peritas…”

“So you’ll…”

“When would he be ready?”

End Flashback


“What!? Why would you name him Peritas? Where all the normal names taken?” Aaron exclaimed teasing the older man who shoved him slightly.

“Ay! Watch it! For your information Peritas was the name of Alexander the Great’s favorite hunting dog, who was believed to have gone toe to toe with lions and elephants saving its master’s life multiple times. There are even rumors that there was a town in what is now India named after him, he was that great…” (AN: This is actually true, I found it as I was looking up names for the dog. I figure Robert would be the one to go either historical or nerdy with the name.) Robert rambled excitedly and Aaron for the first time saw the dorky side to the often smooth and cool man “…so yea, I think that it is a worthy name for a dog as it’s the name of one of the greatest dogs in history and Peritas II, my dog is also one of the greatest dogs in history.”

Robert finished his speech like a proud parent defending and bragging about their child, the dog mentioned had wandered over probably from hearing his name. He seemed to know that his father was talking about him and complimenting him because he got up in Robert’s face and licked him. Aaron couldn’t help but smile at the two, they made an adorable sight; with Peritas Robert seemed happier and pure, no mask or games.

“Other people name their dogs Cooper, Buddy or even Rocky but no you looked up some historical dog’s name to give to your dog…why am I not surprise…”

“Because you know that I don’t do things like everyone else.” Robert whispered in his ear and suddenly the atmosphere changed.

Peritas seemed to read the mood or lose interest in the two humans because he walked out, they heard his nails walk out the bedroom as well probably exploring the rest of the house or checking the perimeter like a good guard dog breed. Robert nibble Aaron’s ear moving down to his neck “do I?” Aaron challenged wanting more than nibbles and soft kisses. Robert seemed to read him like a well-loved and known book.

Aaron sigh as he felt Robert’s long fingers travel down his chest and stomach stopping briefly to pinch his nipples, the combination of that and Robert’s teeth on his neck knowing that they might leave a mark made Aaron moan. He was already half hard and it was embarrassing since Robert hadn’t really touched him. The man had a control over him that Aaron didn’t really understand, with a few kisses Robert had him falling apart in his arms.

“I’ll show you then.”


The two men laid on the bed relaxing after a round in the bathtub, one over sink and a recent one in bed. They were both sore an exhausted, Aaron for obvious reasons while Robert’s thighs were sore from carrying Aaron’s weight over the sink. ‘I need to work out more’ the man couldn’t help but think as he felt his thighs pulse from the effort. Despite his soreness Aaron was in pure bliss, he thought about the marks he saw on his neck while Robert fucked him over the sink.

“I’m bipolar…”

Aaron froze from his place on Robert’s chest “…not like joking ‘oh ha ha she’s so bipolar’ which is so disrespectful by the way but actually bipolar, that’s why I have Peritas.” The room was quiet Aaron didn’t want to spook the man and having him close up, Robert seems like the type to whom being honest and sharing was like pulling teeth but when the man didn’t speak Aaron spoke up

“Does Chrissie know?” Aaron doesn’t know why he asked that “and say what ‘hey Chrissie I’m so messed up that my baggage has baggage, you want to get married!?’ no she doesn’t know, no one knows but my gran and now you.” The man snapped yet there was no anger in his tone instead there was a deep self-deprecation that bothered Aaron.

“You’re not messed up…”

“I get episodes where I go crazy and do things that no normal human being would usually do then I want to off myself…yea, you’re right I’m perfectly normal.” The sarcasm was thick and the self-deprecation was even thicker.

“To me you are…I mean I burned my father alive because he was abusing me so I can’t really judge…”

This time it was Robert’s turn to freeze up at the revelation while Robert process Aaron berated himself for revealing something like that. He never admitted it out loud in part because he didn’t really care to give it space in his mind but also because he knew it would confirm people’s suspicion. ‘Now I probably have to kill him and he was such a good lay’ he was waiting for the disgust “that’s not really the same, you just did the world a favor” but it never came.

“What…?”

Robert smirked down at him “you’re not really as special as you’ll like to believe” the older man teased him and it was such a new feeling for him. For a moment he was confused until he realized that it was acceptance something not even his family had truly given him. He felt a warm feeling spread all over him and he didn’t like it “does shoving a broom up his arse make me special enough.” Aaron wanted Robert to be disgusted and terrify like everyone else because that he knew how to deal with.

“Did the punishment fit the crime?” Aaron was again surprised by Robert’s calm tone so much that he was almost too distracted and almost missed what Robert was really asking him.

“Yes, I became a monster because it was the only way I could be free of him.”

Aaron knew that Robert wouldn’t understand, in fact many people wouldn’t understand what he did and why he did it but killing that man wouldn’t have been enough. The bastard marked him so deeply that simply killing him wouldn’t erase the mark left behind, burned in his brain. It was like having a tumor and he needed to cut it out before it consumed him, if he had just killed his father the mark, the nightmares would still haunt him.

Why should he allow the disgusting arsehole to have power over him ‘why let him make me the suffering martyr that would always have that mark he left like a burn, when I could be the villain that ripped the mark and burn it on him.’ He doesn’t care what anyone says, he doesn’t regret what he did because death was too good for that man and he wanted to make him suffer so he felt what Aaron felt before he died.

‘And if that makes me a monster…’

“You’re not a monster…” Robert’s voice pulled him out of the dark void his mind was falling into, the man straddled him and grabbed his face forcing Aaron to look at him as if he knew that Aaron was losing a battle “…you’re just human and we’re not perfect; we’re all as strong as we are weak and we all have our breaking point.”

Once again there was so much understanding and acceptance in the man’s voice, the warm feeling was back pushing the dark away but this time it was stronger and Aaron didn’t fight it. There was something in Robert’s eyes that made Aaron just wanted to fall in and let the current of passion take him away. “Have you reached yours?” Aaron asked, a part of him was curious but a bigger and selfish part of him was hoping that Robert would join him in the dark void. Robert kissed him passionately distracting him from the topic as if the older man reached his quota of sharing his feelings.

“I don’t know.”


Andy and Katie’s Wedding

It was finally the big day and the village was filled with high energy some just happy for something new and an excuse to celebrate while others were excited for some possible fireworks both literally and figuratively. Everyone expected and some hope that Robert Sugden would live up to expectations and cause some drama. No matter how much people critic him or judge him, in a boring small village people like Robert are essential, they bring the life and excitement that the village needs.

Robert had actually been on his best behavior which that meant that he was staying away from his family except for Victoria. It helped that his ‘business’ trips kept him busy although Robert was enjoying his trips, the more time he spend with Aaron the louder his father’s disapproval and disgust got. When he has Aaron in his arms the voice is muted and the younger man’s moans of pleasure take him away but once it’s over the voice returns full force.

Chrissie had gotten more on his case about their own wedding which Robert had ignore, not even setting a date. “Wouldn’t a double wedding be great!?” He had heard of baby fever but never wedding fever “you’re telling me that you are willing to share the spotlight on what’s supposed to be your day?” All he needed to do was appeal to the woman’s haughtiness and the idea of a double wedding was dropped. That didn’t stop the woman from forcing fabrics and invitations down his throat; she would hijack a regular trip and take him to bakeries.

“Let’s just see the flavors and prices.”

It was getting on his nerves so much that he tried to find reasons to leave the house; he took up running and exercising with Peritas to avoid his fiancé. In the early stages of his diagnosis people with the disorder had suggested exercise especially away from others, saying that it helped rebalance them and wear out all the excess energy they felt despite the medications. At first Robert sneered not because he didn’t work out, he just felt it was better to work out in a gym where there are showers and other modern amenities.

But he found that the stress of being back home and Chrissie’s pressure was building up a lot of energy inside him and he needed to release some before he had an episode so he would take Peritas and run. Unaware to him Katie had got her claws into Chrissie and had filled her head with doubt and hate. “Are you sure he’s not cheating? I mean it’s what Robert does…” even someone with Chrissie’s confidence had doubts sometimes so it was no surprise that she became desperate to speed up their wedding.

She wanted to lock Robert down believing that being married would keep the man faithful and devoted to her. Chrissie was positive that she was woman enough to keep Robert satisfy but she still wanted to get married so that everyone else would know that he belonged to her. “Not the choice I would go with…” Chrissie looked at the simple wild flowers around the church with distaste, the same way she critic everything else in the wedding.

“Did you expect something different, it’s a small village not London.”

Robert was annoyed by Chrissie’s constant commentary, as much as he hated Katie and Andy he will admit that they worked with what they had. Also his annoyance had nothing to do with them but with Chrissie’s arrogance and her superiority ‘then again everything about her seems to annoy me now in days.’ The ceremony had not started when Andy marched in like a bat out of hell right up to Robert.

“Where is it!?”

The man looked furious as he glared at the taller man “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Andy’s exclamation had drawn in the vultures that were hoping for fireworks “you know exactly what it is! You took it and I want it back!” Chrissie stared between the two brothers while Robert just raised his eyebrow actually confuse. Peritas stood by his side on edge since Andy walked in, Robert had spoken to the priest and explained in confidence that the dog was a service animal and he was allowed inside which Chrissie wasn’t happy about.

But Robert didn’t care so that’s how Peritas sat next to him with a burgundy bow tie to match his human’s suit. Robert had even taken the dog to the groomers so that he looked his best “I wondered who he had to pay or threatened to be able to bring a dog in here.” Everyone had started gossiping and speculating it was the first highlight of the event. The second was the one currently happening “it might be hard for you to believe but you’re not the center of my world, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“You bloody liar…” Everyone gasped mainly because they were inside the church “Andy calm down, I’m sure it’s a misunderstanding.”

Victoria stepped forward along with Diane to pacify Andy although Diane sent Robert a disapproving look. “It’s not a misunderstanding! He stole it because he was mad that you gave it to me.” Everyone gasp at the declaration, Chrissie grabbed Robert’s arm not liking the stares. Her actions had nothing to do with loyalty and more to do with her own image. “What did I steal?”

“THE RING!”

The room dissolved into gasps like the audience in some trashing reality show on the telly, Diane immediately changed her allegiance “Robert, how could you!?” Even Victoria had turned to her brother more hoping that Andy was wrong and Robert didn’t actually take it that far. She knew that he had not been happy “Robert you didn’t…!?” the man in question was too busy trying to process the accusation but Vic’s word filled him with indignation.

“Of course I didn’t! Why would I waste my time on something so obvious…”

Robert rolled his eyes all arrogance and confidence on the outside while inside he was actually hurt that Victoria actually believed that he was capable of doing something so petty. “See, maybe you misplaced it. Can you remember the last place…” Victoria tried to calm the situation and refocus attention “I didn’t misplace it. He stole it!” Andy wasn’t as easily convinced by Robert’s innocence as Victoria was and neither was anyone else in the room.

“Robert is not a thief; he has no use for some old ring.”

Chrissie stepped forward again more interested in her own image than defending Robert, it wouldn’t look right if the man she was going to marry was seen as a thief. “He was against Diane giving it to us from the very beginning…” Andy was becoming more agitated “yea because you don’t deserve it!” Robert exclaimed “see…” Andy smirked “he took it.” Again everyone was easily swayed once more.

“Robert! This is no time for one of you tantrums, give us the ring.” Diane ordered like a disappointed mother which didn’t really affect him because he never really connected with the older woman enough to respect her.

“I’m not the one throwing a tantrum and I told you I don’t have the ring! Maybe I wasn’t the only one that didn’t think Andy deserved it. You have a lot of ghosts; maybe we should ask them…?”

Andy stiffen up at the mention of his ghosts, he looked around scare that Robert would say anything. No one knew about Andy’s involvement in Sarah Sugden’s death, to everyone it was an accident as Jack Sugden had told them. Andy, Jack and Robert were the only ones there that knew what actually happened “Robert enough with these games! You’re being childish just give us the ring.” Diane exclaimed gently putting her hand on the golden child’s shoulder making him smile.

“As fun as this game has been, I hate to break it to you but I’m not the villain in this level so you just wasted all your time but I had fun…”

“Robert…” Victoria tried to chaste her big brother but it didn’t really work.

“…Whoever or whatever took the ring has my respect and appreciation but it wasn’t me so you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

Robert decided he had enough and walked out leaving everyone else behind with Peritas by his side. He regretted falling for Victoria’s puppy eyes and actually going to that wedding instead of staying home and enjoying the house to himself for once. The fresh air helped him calm down “that was some show…” Aaron walked over with a smirk on his face. “That was my whole life here in a nutshell.” Robert pointed to the church with distaste and resignation, Aaron studied Robert as if he was searching for something.

“I didn’t actually take the ring” Robert was annoyed but hurt that Aaron believed Andy and everyone else “I know you didn’t, you don’t have the finesse of a thief.” 

Robert shoved a smirking Aaron playfully, for the first time since the day began Robert actually smiled. “You think so…” Robert raised his eyebrow and smirked while Aaron lean in pulled by everything Robert Sugden, like it always happened when he was near the man. Even after weeks Aaron couldn’t get enough of the man, if anything his desire increased and he wanted more.

‘I want it all…’

“Robert!”

Aaron was about to suggest that they find some hidden corner and Robert take out his frustration in a way they could both enjoy but then Chrissie’s screeching broke through. Robert jumped away as if he had been electrocuted and Aaron could see as the mask was firmly put in place, he hated it. “How could you just leave me in that situation!? It was humiliating to be stuck in the middle of that…” the woman seemed to just realize that Aaron was there and her expression completely changed.

Chrissie went from nagging harpy to sweet angel in a flash and Aaron wanted to put a bullet in her head, he found the woman annoying and overbearing. Everything about Chrissie White screamed hypocrite and fake; Aaron had killed people for less than that. “Oh, hi Aaron…” The sweet smile didn’t work on him “…Robert let’s go home.” She wrapped her hands around Robert’s arm; Aaron glared at the arm squish between two boobs.

Aaron could feel the darkness rise again, it screamed at him to break each and every finger in that dainty hand. Imagining the woman’s screams of pain and pleads made him smirk; Robert seemed to notice something darker in that smirk since he pulled his arm free. “Why don’t you stay, I’m sure Katie would want you there. It wouldn’t look good for you to miss her wedding since you’re friends now…”

“You bloody bastard!”

They all turned to see Katie in a wedding dress marching up to them but staring only at Robert; Chas was walking behind her friend. “I knew you would do something, this is just like you. You just can’t let us be happy.” The woman looked furious while Chas stared at her son confuse as to why he was there. “Aaron…” She was going to ask but Katie’s anger was much louder “you are so pathetic! You think taking the ring would stop us from getting married…”

At her words everyone even Chas took a step back “and now we see what the issue is…” Robert smirked as he stepped forward giving the woman a mocking chuckle “…hate to break it to you but even when I was here you were nothing but an easy lay, not even worth being remembered let alone still wanted.” The sound of flesh clashing together was so loud in the otherwise quiet streets. Peritas growled loudly even lodging forward being stop only by Robert’s hand holding his leash.

A heavy breathing Katie stepped back in fear, her hand still hanging in the same position after slamming Robert; the man’s cheek was already turning bright red. Robert touched his lip to make sure he wasn’t bleeding before ignoring the pain and smirking almost as if Katie had proven some point. Unaware to them, Aaron’s blue eyes were burning with anger as he glared at the blonde woman; he had never been so furious by someone else being hurt since Jackson’s murder.

“Hating me won’t change what you did…” Robert lean forward to whisper to the woman directly “…or what you still want to do.”

The man walked away leaving everyone in a shocked silence for a few seconds before Chrissie also walked away more out of embarrassment than loyalty to Robert. “I don’t get it…” Aaron was the one to break the silence, the two women turned to him one in fear as she recognized his tone “…what’s your deal with Robert? You have both moved on; why still bring up the past?” It seemed like a simple question but Chas knew that was Aaron’s business tone, she couldn’t figure out why he was using it on Katie.

“All Robert does is use people…”

“But people fall for his charms and let themselves be use so is it his fault that there are still gullible idiots looking for an excuse to make mistakes…”

“Aaron!” Chas tried to exclaim but Aaron didn’t take his eyes away from Katie who was still too fueled by her hate for Robert to notice that she was somehow being tested.

“He ruins people’s life!”

“But he didn’t ruin your life, you’re about to marry the man you love.”

The respond stumped her because it was true Katie should be happy that she was able to work things out with Andy and they could move on. She knew that she shouldn’t care what Robert did or say but she couldn’t help it, every time she saw the man’s smug smirk she wanted punch him. Robert did lie to her but the truth was deeper than that, she knew in part she was angry because she actually believed him and wanted…

“He doesn’t deserve to be happy.”

And just like that Katie had failed her test, the woman send one final glare the way Robert left and continue her march to the church. Aaron glared at her departing back “Aaron this is between them, stay out of it. We don’t want attention on…” Chas tried to pacify her son; she didn’t understand why he was so angry at Katie. Chas knew that Robert and her son had become sort of friends but she didn’t think it warrant the death glare Katie was getting.

“Don’t ever tell me what I want…” Aaron snapped shutting the woman up immediately “…I know exactly what I want and how to get it.”

“She’s my best friend…”

“Then you should tell her to let go of what’s not hers and move on…for her own good.”

Those words were a clear warning, for some reason Katie had gotten under Aaron’s skin and Chas knew that was a bad place to be in, it was a place people didn’t lasted long in. Before she could ask, her son walked away and Chas was filled with dread over Katie, over Aaron’s behavior and for some reason even over Robert’s involvement. She took a deep breath composing herself before walking into the church trying to ignore the bad feeling she was getting.

‘I feel like blood will be spill in Emmerdale, I’m just not sure who it would belong to.’             

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Andy and Katie’s wedding infected all the single female population of Emmerdale with ideas and their male counterparts with dread. Unfortunately for Robert even the women that weren’t single became infected. Chrissie wouldn’t leave him alone for weeks after the ceremony making it hard for him to meet with Aaron until Robert finally cave and set a date after another argument.

“Do you not want to get married, is that it!?”

Chrissie exclaimed in anger and indignation at the idea that Robert might have changed his mind. The woman’s arrogant and vain natural wouldn’t be able to handle being broken up with; Robert didn’t want to think of an unhinged Chrissie looking for revenge. Chrissie was the type of woman that had to be in control of everything and everyone in her life, if she wasn’t she would most likely completely lose her mind ‘I wonder if that was what happened to Lachlan’s father.’

Robert was exhausted, spending so much time with Chrissie made him actually question his decision to marry her because it was unbearable. It was true what they suggested about first living with your partners before marrying them so there were no unbearable surprises. Being with the woman was fine in small dosages with a break in between but not full time. It was like having candy all day every day, even for a candy lover like himself it was too much. Robert needed a break from candy to eat his vegetables ‘a break I could spend with a certain blue eyes creeper.’

The two hadn’t been together since before Andy’s wedding and Robert admitted at least to himself that he missed their time together mainly because when he was with Aaron he felt like it was okay to be himself. He didn’t have to put on his mask with Aaron so for the first time in a long time Aaron was getting to know who the man behind the mask was, it was a privilege that very few people got, one that Robert didn’t even get until his late 20s.

‘On second thought maybe distance is a good idea.’

“Robert!?”

“Chrissie don’t be daft, of course I still want to get married. I just rather not do it when others demand or to follow Andy’s lead.”

The confirmation brought the smile back to Chrissie’s face and just like that the rest of his words were white noise. “Good then what do you think of a white wedding?” Robert rubbed his head trying to ease the headache he felt coming on “that is only a few months away, do you really think that you will be able to plan a wedding that meets your expectations in a few months?” He could see the doubt in the woman’s eyes proving his point.

“You’re right, we have to show this village what a real and elegant wedding looks like.”

There was that arrogance that characterized the whole White family and even he found annoying “see we need time, how about spring. Everything is in full bloom so the colors will be brighter.” Robert found himself wanting to delay the wedding more and more each day but he had finally given in and tried to use his charm to sale Chrissie on his ideas. If there was one thing that Robert was good at, it was being a businessman and negotiating anything with anyone.

“I want a February wedding, before Valentine’s day. Wouldn’t it be romantic, perfect for all to envy and emulate.”

“…”

“We could do white lilies to go imitate the snow, the colors could be white and peach…Oh! Bells…”

Just like that Chrissie walked off talking to herself already planning the wedding without him, he didn’t really expect to get much or any say in the event so he wasn’t surprise by it instead he was focus on the date. Peritas placed his head on Robert’s lap as the man though about how soon February suddenly felt. His hand subconsciously began petting the dog in an effort to sooth the rising panic, ‘I love her, I shouldn’t feel like this…maybe I just need to release stress.’

Let’s meet for a pint.


Aaron was not happy; in fact he was annoyed with a persistent itch that just kept growing in the last few days. Andy and Katie’s wedding had everyone in a frenzy either celebrating or wishing they were getting married. Emmerdale as a quiet village didn’t get much excitement so any event was like their version of the royal wedding and a coronation. Even worse work had been calm so he didn’t have anything else to distract himself with.

He knew the reason he was so irritated wasn’t the drunk single women (and Finn) complaining about dying single and how Katie was the lucky one. Getting drunk himself wasn’t an option in case something came up so he escaped his mother’s worry and watchful eyes to go to the bridge and smoke a blunt. It helped him relax although he also kept a closer eye on Katie and Andy especially the woman.

Aaron had the theory that Katie was still not over Robert and she was actually mad that he used her and dump her not that he got between her and Andy. Aaron has no doubt that had Robert not returned, it would’ve been easier for her to pretend to be happy with Andy but with Robert back it stirred all those feelings. Katie didn’t want Robert to be happy and she wanted him to pay but if he was to leave Chrissie and tried to win her back, Aaron was positive it wouldn’t take her much to give in.

‘Over her dead body, there is only one person that I would share Robert with and even that is currently up for debate.’

The truth was that Aaron was getting tired of having to share Robert’s time and affections with Chrissie White. The woman, like all other women had lost her mind over the wedding and had been keeping Robert busy with their wedding plans. Aaron hasn’t seen the man since the wedding expect for glimpse around the village which wasn’t enough and they hadn’t been together since the day before the wedding. Aaron didn’t realize how deep Robert was buried inside him.

‘Unfortunately not literally’

They’ve had to cancel a few meetings or Aaron was just stood up, it would always start with Robert texting him to meet up in some hidden corner. Aaron ran over like he was desperate for sex like some ugly loner. It annoyed him that no matter how much he berated himself for it, he still did it because Robert was still the best lay he had. Then Aaron would be waiting already hard with anticipation only for Robert to cancel because Chrissie wanted to go cake tasting…again. So Aaron wasn’t really amused when he got the new text from the man again and made sure to write his annoyance.

Did mama finally let you out to play?

What makes you think I’m free?

Or don’t have a better offer

 Aaron snapped one part anger, one part annoyance and two parts banter, they both knew that eventually they would cave because it was the way the pull between them worked. The truth was that he was aching for the good fucking that only Robert could seem to give him. Aaron knew that soon enough he would need to beat someone up or get pounded and he knew which one he would prefer. But he wasn’t going to make it easy on Robert; the man had a lot to make up to him as far as Aaron knew.

I hate when you do that! How hard is it to finish a sentence in one text!?

And here I was planning something special. Oh well guess I’ll have to cancel.

‘Damn it! He knows just how to get me.’

What plans? And how special

are we talking about?

Aaron separated the text just to annoy Robert; he knew the multiple text bubbles for one conversation was a pet peeves of the older man, it was a habit of Aaron’s but with Robert he mainly did it because he loved watching the blond pouty glare. Instead of another text his phone rang “oh wow, a text and a phone call. Someone got rewarded.” Aaron made sure that his tone was annoyingly cheerful and fake.

“I was thinking of passing along the good fortune but I’m told I can’t hang out with no good thugs”

Robert responded right back never losing a beat and that was one of the things Aaron lov…he froze when he realized what he was about to think. ‘That’s stupid! It’s only been a few months…No, It’s just been awhile since I’ve had sex.’ Aaron tried to justify himself but even to him the argument sounded weak and half assed “…ron…Aaron! Are you still there?” Robert’s voice snapped him out of his panic.

“Yea, just laughing too hard at you being kept on a leash”

“I think I’ve showed you plenty of times how not on a leash I am, how about I show you again…?”

“Am I supposed to fall for that line?”

“No you’re supposed to fall for what follows which I’ve proven that I can deliver” Aaron couldn’t deny that Robert was right; the man had never let him down in the sexual department.

“I don’t know the last few days…”

“Really how does a whole weekend sound, no interruptions? Just you and me…and Peritas of course…” Aaron smiled at the thought, he lost himself in the day dream unaware that his mother was watching him and was shock at the return of the familiar smile.

“…But this is a limited time offer only, going once…” Aaron pretended to think but they both knew he was going to accept, a whole weekend with Robert all to himself “…going twice…” not even the thought of Peritas there bothered him as much as it probably should.

“Okay!”

“…Sold to the fit bloke with the killer blue eyes”

Shocking his mother even more Aaron laughed something that he hadn’t even done with Jackson. Playful Robert was one of Aaron’s favorite Robert that version of the man was witty like all the others but it had a pure happiness that seemed untarnished by the world. That was the Robert that made Aaron want to violently murder anyone who tried to take that pure happiness away.

“You are such a muppet” and they were back to the flirting which was almost their default setting “but I’m your muppet.” The words were followed by silence as Robert processed them and panicked while Aaron felt a deliciously possessive heat inside him that made him want to growl ‘damn right you are! Fuck Poshy Mcbitch!’ but he held back because he knew Robert was already pulling back and putting up his walls.

“Pack for a weekend, I’ll send you the address of where to meet.”

That was all he heard before Robert hung up leaving Aaron with a hard on and a need to cover Robert in marks for all to see specially the bitch that thinks she had a claim on him. “Who was that?” His mother voice snapped him back to reality making him discreetly fix his pant to avoid getting caught. “Who are you talking about?” He really didn’t want to deal with the woman’s need to be involved in his love life.

“The person you were talking to on the phone? Must be someone special because you were all smiles, even laughed”

“Did I?”

“So who was he?”

“What makes you think it was guy?”

“Oh come on Aaron. I haven’t seen that smile since…” suddenly Chas stopped herself and the mood change, Aaron knew what she was going to say and the good mood he felt was gone.

“How about you stick to the pub and the town gossip…” out of the corner of his eye he saw Katie walked in “…and keeping your best friend in line.”

Aaron walked away deciding to head to the back since he didn’t really want to deal with Katie, the woman had been asking a lot of questions since her wedding. Chas told her that he was friends with Robert and the woman seemed to try and spread her hate to him but when that didn’t work she has been trying to get information out of him, like he wasn’t a pro. He had been close to bashing her head in a couple of times and it was only Chas’ presences and Robert’s possible reaction that stopped him.

Katie wasn’t stupid despite what others main think she knew that Aaron’s defense towards Robert was strange “They’ve just become close friends.” She didn’t believe Chas’ words for one second; Robert didn’t become friends with simple ‘nobody’ thugs. ‘He was too obsessed with money to do that’ also even if that were true, Aaron was not the loyal type, the man’s only friend was Adam and everyone else was glared at.

But Aaron was gay and Robert was fit, Katie thought that maybe Aaron fell for Robert’s charm and the older man was using the poor boy to hide what he was doing. Katie was sure Robert was cheating and the he was using Aaron to cover for him ‘poor bloke has no idea. In the end that is what Robert does best, he uses people then throws them away.’ That was why she needed to catch him in the act “Oh, I’ll be gone this weekend.” She looked up to see Aaron speaking to Chas “What…? Where? Not another business trip.” Katie lean in slightly trying to be discreet about her eavesdropping but Aaron saw right through her.

“Nah, just a weekend with a mate”

“Oh a mate…is that what kids call it…”

Aaron rolled his eyes and walked out not clearing things up, if someone found them together then they wouldn’t have to hide anymore and he wouldn’t have to share Robert. He knew that Robert would never really be ready to come out and Aaron couldn’t expose them but if it happened by ‘accident’ then Robert wouldn’t blame him or be mad at him. ‘Katie’s obsession might be useful after all’ Aaron thought with a smirk as he went upstairs to pack for a long and hopefully pleasure filled weekend.


I have something to show you let’s meet.

Now!? It’s 24:00! Can’t it wait until the weekend?

No. Besides we won’t have much free time in the weekend. Come for a walk.

Wow! All in one text must be serious. I’ll see what I can do.

While Robert joked around in the text he was actually nervous, his first though was that Aaron was going to end their affair and he didn’t want it to end. Fortunately everyone was sleeping so he was able to sneak away with Peritas, if he was caught coming back he’ll just say he couldn’t sleep so he went on a drive with the dog. Robert parked in front of the abandoned barn where he met Aaron for the second time.

The man’s car was outside but no sign of him so Robert figured he was inside waiting “come one Peritas.” The dog followed him as he stepped into the barn, expecting more darkness he was shock to see that there was a circle of light surrounding a stack on hay where Aaron was sitting on a blanket. “You made it!” The man seemed nervous which Robert found endearing and calming “everyone was sleeping so I took Peritas for a drive.” The dog in question wandered off to explore the rest of the new place.

“What was so important it couldn’t…?”

Before he could finish Aaron was crashing into him making him stumble and crashing their lips together. Once their lips touch it was like a lock snapped in place and a desperation and desire that neither realized they were holding burst through. The kiss was wet and sloppy as tongues connected in a battle for dominance that Aaron happily conceded. They stood there snogging for what felt like hours until their lungs demanded air and they pulled away.

Their lips glisten with each other’s spit and they both felt like addicts that got their first fix in months. “Not that I’m complaining but could’ve definitely done that this weekend” Robert finally got his voice back while still panting slightly. “That wasn’t why I asked you here, just a bonus.” Aaron pulled back and reached into his pocket pulling something out, Robert was confuse until it shine in the light and he saw it was a ring.

“Uh…I think it’s a little early for that…”

Robert tried to tease and for some reason Aaron was happy that the man didn’t immediately reject the idea. ‘There is no doubt in my mind that if he was mine I would want to mark him in every way possible, legal and illegal.’ While Aaron got lost in the fantasy Robert studied the ring and noticed that it seemed familiar “…Is that…?” He was shocked, in his hands Aaron held his mother’s ring.

“Your mother’s ring, yes”

“Where did you find it?”

“Your brother is not that great at protecting valuables…” Robert looked at the smug look in the younger man’s face and suddenly everything fell into place.

“It was you…You’re the one that stole it!?”

“It was embarrassingly easy”

“Why didn’t you say anything when Andy was calling me a thief and my family got on my case in front of everyone!?”

“The point of stealing something is to not get caught…” Aaron tried to joke but Robert was angry “so you just stood by as I got blame…!?”

Aaron walked up to the angry man and placed his hand on Robert’s arms trying to calm him down “I didn’t mean for you to get blamed, I swear. In my defense I didn’t believe that they would be daft enough to think that you would do something so obvious.” It was true when Aaron first decided to take the ring; he did it because he thought that logically as a too obvious choice Robert wouldn’t get blame.

‘I under estimated their bias towards him.’

“Why…?” Robert’s voice was softer and small, the anger replaced by confusion.

“It belongs to you, not your mother’s murderer.”

Robert was shock by Aaron’s declaration and a warm feeling overcame him, it was new and confusing. He didn’t want to give it too much thought but it was so overwhelming and confusing that he couldn’t help but think about it. For a second he wondered what Aaron wanted because in his experience no one did anything just because. At least in Robert’s life no one had ever done something for him just to make him happy but all he saw was pure honesty in Aaron’s eyes and that scared him more than anything in the world.

‘What is he doing to me?’

Robert’s heart began beating faster and his hands were shaking suddenly his palms were sweating and every part of his body felt on fire. He stepped closer wanting to distract himself from the terrifying feeling with pure wild passion but instead he found himself caressing Aaron’s face gently. ‘What are you doing!?’ Robert screamed to himself as Aaron closed his eyes and leaned into the gentle touch.

‘Make it stop! Kiss him!’

Aaron’s smile and the gentleness on his face made Robert feel out of sorts but when he leans in to kiss the younger man he was gentler than he wanted to be. Their lips softly touched for a gentle kiss and remained together after just enjoying being in each other’s space. Their breaths intermingle as Robert’s hand went up into the gel free black hair and buried his fingers in those wild soft locks.

‘Too gentle…Push him! Fuck him!’

A deeper part of Robert screamed but he wouldn’t listen instead he steered Aaron backwards until his knees bumped into a stack of hay and fell back. Again much gentler than he wanted to Robert lay the man down staring deep into bright blue eyes before kissing him again. ‘It’s too much, too real, too serious…’ Robert knew that this was no longer a one-time thing; it didn’t feel like something he could or would want to give up some day.

Aaron was also experiencing something new and different but unlike Robert he didn’t fight it because he felt worshipped and cared for. Instead he wanted more as Robert peppered every free area of skin with soft kisses while his hands work to lovingly undress him. ‘I could get use to this…’ There was an emotion in Robert’s multi-color eyes that made all the insecurity, self-hate and doubt leave Aaron’s mind like the older man was brushing them away.

Once the shirt was gone Robert got to work on covering Aaron’s chest with warm tender kisses that felt more like little drops of fire leaving behind delicious burn marks. Aaron shiver and arched his chest as Robert paid attention to his sensitive nipples, licking them and biting them until they perked up hard and begging for more. Feeling Robert’s lips closed on the erected nub felt ten times more intense than before.

Every little touch of those long smooth fingers or that long talented tongue, of those teeth leaving slight marks and those soft lips smoothing them down, felt a thousand times stronger and more intense than anything they had done before. Robert tenderly kissed all the scars Aaron got from work as if he was cherishing them as some beauty mark that he loved. Those lips trailed the deep V leading like an arrow to a very interested and erected part of his body.

Aaron could feel the scratching of the hay on his back and he knew that he would have hay burns on his back and he couldn’t wait to look at them in the mirror. They would be a reminder of that night; a part of him almost wanted them to last forever as a reminder of the night he didn’t want to end. Robert was so gentle as he opened his trousers and pulled them down, it was so foreign to Aaron but he was quickly becoming addicted to the feeling.

With Jackson everything was soft and gentle but it was like a soft cool breeze in spring while with Robert it felt like a powerful all-consuming fire that the man seemed to control like a dragon. ‘Oh great, he’s turning me into a fantasy fangirl that wanted to fuck mythical creature…’ his train of thought was derailed when the night chill caressed his hard dick. “Robert…” The man in question ignored his pleas and continued kissing around the area and down Aaron’s thighs.

“Rob…please…”

Those were words Aaron never really used during sex, he never begged no matter what but somehow this gentleness and care was torture. It was worse yet better than all the times that Robert had been rough or hard while they fucked. It was so slow and emotional that Aaron felt himself falling into an abyss that he knew he wouldn’t be able to return from if Robert didn’t change the pace.

‘I’m falling so hard…’

Finally Robert seemed to take mercy on him and Aaron felt the sweet relief of that tongue lick a thick vein up his dick wrapping his lips around the head and torturing the leaking slit with his long tongue. Aaron arched up trying to get that tongue to go deeper but Robert pulled away and continued his worshipping by taking Aaron’s balls in his mouth and sucking them pulling a high pitch moan from Aaron. The loud pop when he pulled away was almost indecent but he continued manhandling Aaron to give himself access to Aaron’s entrance.

The tongue there was new and strange yet electric; it was so unbelievably addictive like everything else done to him by Robert. Feeling the tongue latter his hole and softened the ring of muscles Aaron was gone, he was lost as he fell into the abyss ‘I’m in love with this man…’ It was not something he had time to process as the tongue was replaced by loving fingers exploring his insides far gentler than ever before.        

For the first time since they started their affair Robert took his time preparing Aaron, torturing him so sweetly and lovingly that Aaron was sure he was going to died ‘oh but what a way to go.’ “So sweet and responsive for me…” It was the first words that Robert said since they started and Aaron almost wished he hadn’t talked because they just added fuel to the fire. Three fingers in and Aaron was trying to remember who he was and where he was “…you are so perfect for me.”

Robert moved up pulling Aaron into a kiss that didn’t held the same gentleness and softness as everything he had done so far. When they pulled back to breath and as their breath mingle together “my big bear…just mine…all mine.” Robert whispered reverently, his voice was filled with possessiveness and something softer that Aaron couldn’t decipher. But what he could see was the emotion and the light in those blue-grey eyes, Aaron was sure that it was the same look in his own eyes.

They stared into each other’s eyes saying everything they were too scare to say, everything they couldn’t say, everything that their issues stopped them from saying. The only thing that broke their connection was Robert’s finger being replaced by something longer and thicker that also belong to the man. “Rob…” Aaron closed his eyes and pushed down embracing the familiar fullness. Robert wasn’t stupid or delusional enough to not admit at least to himself that this was going to change everything between them.

‘I can’t find himself to stop or care…I want more…’

Robert clashed their lips together was he was completely engulf in Aaron’s heat, the younger man’s strong legs wrapped around his slim waist holding him in place as if worry that Robert would stop and leave. Aaron’s hand on his back grounded him in the moment and Robert’s fingers buried in Aaron’s hair kept the younger man prisoner to the fire and the pleasure of that night. In that moment they were both in sync and connected in every way possible

‘I can’t give this up, it will never be enough.’


Chas would like to think herself as an observant person and a good judge of character, it had helped her a lot while she was in charge of the family business but Aaron changed all that. Her son had her on edge from the moment he was brought to the village; she could never get a good read on him. Sometimes he seemed like a lost cause, so dark that he was more monster than human while other time he was just like everyone else maybe even considerate.

Whenever she thought she noticed something about him, the young man always seemed to disprove her or contradict her. “He’s definitely different” it was refreshing to know that this time she wasn’t the only one that noticed something off about Aaron and it reassure her as she looked around and watched Debbie confirm her theory.

“I mean business wise not much has change but he is definitely in a better mood, not so quick to fits of anger.”

Debbie at first wanted no part in the ‘secret’ family meeting as Aaron’s second she didn’t keep secrets from the man; also she knew how Aaron could get when he felt like he was being attacked. Aaron was much like a wild animal, when he felt cornered he lashed out and attacked viciously but she felt that the change was positive and as long as the family wasn’t trying to jeopardize it she was also curious to know.

“See! I’m not the only one. I’ve seen him smiling more and not just any smile but a real smile, one that I’ve only seen him give Jackson.”

“You think he’s found someone new?”

Lydia ever the romantic smiled at the idea of Aaron finding love again, she along with Lisa and Belle were the heart of the family with their optimism and love for the family ‘although that doesn’t make them any less dangerous.’ Sam thought as he remembered that his sweet wife killed her abusive husband after he caused her a miscarriage (AN: I know that’s not what happened, I’m changing it because I feel like it and it goes with the story better. Everyone in the Dingle family has done something morally ambiguous and is a little dark some more than others.)

“Is that such a good thing?” Charity ever the pessimist spoke up getting a glare from Chas “depends of who it is.” Cain was not far behind getting an elbow from his wife.

“No, Cain is right. We don’t know who this bloke is, he could be dangerous…”

Marlon ever the cautious one spoke up, he was always the one to overthink things and calculated every decision.  “Who could be more dangerous than the Dingles” Adam asked sarcastically with a smug look on his face, the younger man was an honorary Dingle due to his mother and his friendship with Aaron. No one was under any misconception that Adam won’t tell Aaron about the meeting later on.

“Kid has a point, we are the biggest bad out there…” Of course Charity had to be the one to brag.

“That’s do to Aaron and his infamous temper…” Moira added smirking at the woman as her arrogance deflated and she glared “…will that change now?”

Moira was the logical one in the family, she saw and though about the little details and things that the family might otherwise miss. It was what made her so indispensable to the family and such a great advisor to Cain. They had all been so happy about Aaron possibly finding balance that they didn’t think about how that would affect the business.

“Maybe we need to keep him alone…for the good of the business.” Everyone glared at Charity for her comment.

“It didn’t really stop him from taking care of business when he had Jackson; all we need is to know who it is this time…” Debbie added with a fierce glare at her mother, taking control of the meeting “…mainly to avoid what happened last time from happening again, we can’t afford for Aaron to lose himself again.”

The reminder of how inhuman Aaron was after Jackson’s murder filled the room with a somber air. The beast that lay within Aaron was dangerous and even worse it didn’t discriminate, he was truly like Abraham Dingle and that wasn’t a good thing. Only the family knew that in his later years Abraham truly became a monster, he tortured and killed a nephew, a few lovers and even an aunt with no remorse, they didn’t want that for Aaron.

‘This relationship has to work, no matter what.’


Aaron wasn’t stupid he knew that his mother had an idea that he was in a relationship and that she along with the rest of the family were up to something. He had notice that she had been trying to set him up with Finn but he ignored her letting her stop before he had to stop her. She wasn’t one to give up easily so when she stopped he noticed, he also noticed when she kept sending him suspicious looks that later turned gleeful.

He knew it was only a matter of time before his whole family knew so he wasn’t surprise when Adam told him that they met to talk about his new ‘bloke’ “mate, I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.” Adam hit his shoulder exclaiming “there is nothing to tell, I’m relieving stress that’s all it is.” As much as he wanted to talk to Adam about Robert, Aaron knew that if anyone found out about them Robert would run for the hills.

“Relieving stress? Your mum might believe that but I know you, that is not a relieving stress smile. That’s an ‘I’m gone’ smile.”

“A what?”

“You know head over heels, to the moon and back, completely gone, in lo…”

“You have me confuse, you’re the one with the puppy eyes whenever Victoria is even mention.”

Just like that Adam got a goofy lovesick grin and got lost in thoughts of Victoria; Aaron smirked knowing exactly how to distract Adam. His best friend’s fatal flaw was his pure love for the people in his life mainly Moira, Victoria and Aaron, unfortunately for him Aaron is not above exploiting that weakness. “Can’t argue with that” Adam finally responded with the lovesick grin still on his face which made Aaron rolled his eyes.

“I’ll leave you to your daydreaming; I have to speak with Debbie”

“You need me…?”

“Nah, it’s nothing serious you keep planning your dream wedding with Victoria.”

Aaron teased his best friend before walking out the pub and leaving the man to moon over Robert’s little sister. Walking through the village helped him calmed down and push away what Adam said about his smile. Usually Debbie and he would meet every day at least once to talk business, the location changed every day for safety and to avoid any unwanted ears listening in. The destination today was Debbie’s house since the twins were spending the day with Andy in the farm.

“I’m guessing Adam told you about the ‘secret’ family meeting.”

“Did you really expect any less?”

“Why do you think I didn’t tell you? Any chance for you telling me who this bloke is and if he will be a risk…”

“Let me stop you there, I will never put the business at risk so don’t worry there…” Aaron snapped at the idea that he would be so reckless and foolish.

“You know that’s not what I meant. I’m your second; I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask.”

Aaron knew that Debbie was right, as a second Debbie was the only one that could not let herself be intimidated by him and should call him out on his bullshit. He knew that he couldn’t let what he had with Robert take over every aspect of his life “if it gets out of hand I will let you know, until then it has nothing to do with the family or the business.” That response seemed to pacify Debbie, she wasn’t like their mothers or others members of the family in that they were nosey and felt entitled to know what every Dingle was up to.

“Fair enough, have you decided what to do with the MacFarlanes? They’re still recruiting from inside, Syd has some loose lips so one of our life-ers has heard his sales pitch.”

“Have they contacted Merv?”

Mervin was one of their contacts and the underboss of the prison system on the inmates side while Richard ‘Richie’ the director took care of the politics and the guards. Mervin was given life for killing his wife’s brother who had been raping their daughter since she was seven.  The man was small and unassuming with a brilliant mind for numbers as well as planning; he had been a business analyst. Aaron saw the potential and offer protection as well as privilege to see his wife –who supports him and even agrees with what he did- in exchange for loyalty and service.

Any new imitate had to meet Merv or one of his soldiers in the other prisons especially if they wanted to do business inside because the Dingles always got a cut. “Nope, haven’t even introduced themselves” The MacFarlanes were arrogant especially since the head of their family Colin MacFarlane used to be friends with Aaron’s grandfather in his sober days and the man gave him too many liberties.

“That is very rude, who walks into a party and doesn’t greet the host?”

“That’s what I thought, so what you want to do?”

“What does Colin say?”

“That they never had issues when Shadrach was in charge and that was how they did things.”

“In that case we are going to teach them some manners and remind them that Shadrach is no longer in charge.”

His grandfather, Aaron was learning was weak even before he started drinking. The man was trusting of friends and anyone that was his friend got a free pass or get out of jail free card. When he became a drunk it got worse but Aaron was realizing that their reputation had already taken a huge hit. “What are you thinking an example or go straight for the root?” Debbie was able to read Aaron like any good second and while she had a preference of what she wanted him to do, in the end it was his decision.

“Why not do both, have some of our boys show Syd the Dingle hospitality on the inside. Then send our soldiers to take out the weak link close to Colin…” Aaron smirked “…make sure to send flowers in condolences.”

“Before or after?”

Debbie smirked knowing exactly what Aaron was thinking; she loved when she got to mess with their enemies psychologically. Aaron was the violent and physical one but she was the calm and mental one. She felt that psychological scars left a longer lasting impression although it required a patience that Aaron did not possess. “I’ll let you decide, just make sure it is fit for a MacFarlane” Aaron smiled knowing exactly what Debbie wanted and was fine with giving it to her.

“How’s Vienna going?”

“Anja is a natural, I recommend leaving her permanently…” She passed Aaron some information which he took and ‘hmm’ “…Emma is officially in and they love her.”

“Any suspicion?”

“At first there were some that were standoff-ish since it’s rare for them to ‘invite’ someone but I think that was more jealousy than any suspicion.”

“…”

“I told her to make sure that she became INTERPOL’s sweetheart and that if anything she would be the last person they suspect if at all.”

“What do you think?”

“She knows what to do and she’s good at her job.”

“Good, I agree keep Anja in charge but I want to see much more than her controlling the situation. She needs to show me what we gain with her as the leader.”

“I’ll be sure to let her know, the kids have been dying for a trip now with summer break.”

For the next few minutes the two talk numbers and new ideas as well as dealing with smaller problems in the business. Once the meeting was winding down and they started talking about the legal side of the business, Aaron decided that it was a perfect time to bring up his plans. “I’m going offline this weekend…” that was the term they used when they didn’t want to be bothered by business.

“Are we talking about completely or…”

“…just life or death situations only, I trust you to take care of things.”

“Yea, shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll keep you offline”

The rest of the meeting was quiet until they transition from Mob boss and second in command to cousins. They talked about the twins and Aaron even got some information on Katie from Debbie’s time with Andy which wasn’t a lot. Debbie asked him about his new bloke and Aaron gave her minimum information but reveled that he was in the closet; Aaron took the surprise in her eyes as his queue to leave.

“Enjoy your weekend off, keep hydrated and…” Debbie’s laughter followed him out as like any good older cousin she teased him

Chapter Text

Saturday Morning

Aaron rolled his eyes at the massive structure of the hotel that Robert chose; it looked like an old Lord’s estate with is aged stone, stairs, tall windows and tall towers. It reminded him of Beast’s castle from Beauty and the Beast, it was his little sister’s favorite movie and before Sandra abandoned him to the bastard’s cruelty they watched it almost every day.

It was one of the few fond memories that Aaron had of his childhood, Liv instead that Aaron was beauty because of his pretty eyes ‘if she could only see me now, how wrong she was.’ Aaron stared at the tall towers on either side as he walked up the front stone stairs with a duffle bag in his hand. ‘Leave it to the wanna-be Prince to pick a castle to stay in’ Again he rolled his eyes affectionately; a part of him whispered how Robert deserved it.

Walking inside Aaron gasped as he was greeted by cream ornate walls and tall columns that screamed French Chateau. The floor was a red and gold carpet “what do you think?” Robert’s voice whispered behind him. The man was smug and very proud of himself so Aaron couldn’t help but tease the man “I’ve seen better…” just to get the rare pout he found so adorable, one he was sure was reserved only for him “…but it will do” Robert rolled his eyes.

“Come on your highness, I’ve already checked us in.”

Aaron just wanted to grab the man and kissed him but he held back mainly because he knew how Robert was about anything public even when their far from home “a client could see us and recognize me…” Aaron wasn’t one for PDA either but with Robert he found himself wanting to mark him and constantly touch him in public for all to see. He didn’t know what it was about Robert that makes him so possessive ‘probably the fact that he’s not really mine…yet.’

“Stop that…” Robert bumped into him “…you’re scaring everyone with that grumpy glare.”

“I’m not grumpy or glaring…”

“So your face is naturally like that...I might have to rethink this weekend or relationship in general.”

Robert teased with a playful smirk that made Aaron smile “shut up” the younger man felt almost giddy at hearing Robert refer to what they were doing as a relationship. He always felt almost bashful when Robert got playful and really affectionate, it brought up though of ‘that’ night when he saw a different side of Robert.

‘A loving, caring and patient Robert…’ and Aaron wanted more, it felt like getting a peak at his Christmas presents but not actually getting to have them. He felt selfish for wanting every part of Robert and wanting the man all to himself when they both had agreed this was just a temporary itch that they both wanted to scratch. They knew their situation and agreed to be nothing but an affair that would end soon but now Aaron wanted much more and that made him selfish but he didn’t regret it.

‘But that’s not new; Robert just seems to always bring out new sides of me that even I didn’t know I had.’

Their room was a suite with a living area with a bar; a happy Peritas layed on the carpet, his tail thumping loudly as it wagged. The dog walked over to him and smelled him, Aaron petted him noticing the vest with the words ‘service dog’ on the coffee table. The dog didn’t seemed to be too interested in them after that and went back to lay on the carpet by the window.

“He won’t interrupt us if I don’t need him, he usually keeps away…” Aaron hated that Robert sound so nervous and worried. It pissed him off that someone ‘probably Chrissie’ made him feel like he had to justify his needs.

“I know, we took him to my place remember or is old age getting to you?”

Robert’s bright smile made Aaron want to protect the man and kill anyone that made him feel like he couldn’t be himself or that he had to ask for the permission or approval of others. Aaron was sure that Peritas send him an approving look as if Aaron had passed some test. ‘Now the dog is testing me, Robert is making me crazier than I thought’ “Hey! I’ll show you old…” There was the playful sass that Aaron lo…‘not going there’

“Show me the rest”

To the side a door lead into a room with a massive king bed on it, to the side of the bedroom a door lead to a luxurious bathroom with a big bathtub “we can break that in later…” Robert whispered in his ears making him shiver “…I thought first we could break in the bed before getting adventurous.” Robert wrapped his arms around Aaron’s waist and leaned his chin on the younger man’s shoulder. It filled Aaron with the same warmth he felt ‘that’ night.

Robert could feel the heat and desire he’s been holding back push through as he began to kiss Aaron’s neck wanting to end the tour and move on to the fun part, not like there was much left to see. Aaron seemed to agree because he moved his head slightly giving Robert better access to his neck, with Robert he realized that his neck was what Robert called “…an erogenous zones…”

Every time Robert so much as touched him there it made him breathless and hot, the older man was very careful to never leave any marks but secretly Aaron wanted him to. Robert turned him around and crashed their lips together demanding entrance into his mouth and pulling Aaron’s tongue into his mouth when the young man allowed him in. Somehow they reached the bed so Robert pushed Aaron down before following after him and continuing their dance.


Chrissie was pissed off; she had been trying to get in contact with Robert but the man was not picking up which he knew she hated. He told her that he was going on a business trip to acquire a possible new client but something felt off. (AN: I honestly don’t know what the Whites do and don’t really care to find out.) There was nothing on file about a new client and the one thing about Robert was that he loved to research extensively before meeting a client. “Robert is a tricky one…” Katie’s words rang in her head; the woman had told her how Robert had played with most of the girls in the village.

“It’s what he does, he manipulates people…”

She knew there was history between Katie and Robert that the woman was obviously not over, it was the reason Chrissie kept her close. ‘Better to keep an eye on her so she won’t get any ideas.’ In the last few days Katie had been trying to convince Chrissie that Robert was cheating on her but the woman never had any proof so Chrissie mainly attributed her words to jealousy. But recently Robert had become distant and going on trips that she knew nothing about until the day off.

Even worst in the last few days he hadn’t touched her and when she tried to initiate he would make some excuse like a wife avoiding her husband. Then he would take the mutt out on a walk and not come back until she was already asleep. It was making Chrissie nervous; she was starting to believe that Katie had a point; the stories about Robert’s wild youth did not ease her worries but fueled them.

“I think that you might be right…”

That was why she found herself in her sitting room in front of Katie as she expressed all her worries to the woman. Katie on the other hand tried not to smirk; Chrissie had acted so arrogant as if she were above being used by Robert. It was great to see the woman brought down from the pedestal she placed herself in ‘the one thing you can count on with Robert is that he would definitely humble you.’ Katie knew that sooner or later he would show his true colors, it’s a good thing she thought ahead.

“…Robert is cheating on me.”

“Why do you say that?”

“He has been acting strange since we’ve arrived here…”

Chrissie had never had girlfriends that she could talk to, women were always jealous of her or intimidated by her. She was driven, competitive, independent and passionate so she tended to draw attention from men where ever she went which made women hate her. It wasn’t her fault and it never bothered her until she found herself in need of someone to listen to her problems; someone that wasn’t her father, son or Robert so having Katie felt refreshing that was why she shared her worries with the woman.

“I told you, that is just the way Robert is…” Katie looked at Chrissie with sympathy although inside she was celebrating the fact that once again Robert proven to her and everyone that he hadn’t change “…but don’t worry I think I know where we can catch him red handed…”

Katie remembers Aaron mentioning to Chas that he was going away for the weekend ‘it can’t be a coincidence…’ She was positive that Aaron was helping cover for Robert; the younger man probably even knew who Robert was seeing. “You do!? How…?” Chrissie exclaimed before getting suspicious “unfortunately for Robert he chose a really bad accomplice.” Katie smirked as if she was a brilliant detective that just solved a case.

“Accomplice? Who could it be?”

“Why would someone like Robert becomes friends with a no good thug like Aaron Dingle?”

“You think Aaron is the one helping Robert cheat?”

“I don’t think, I know. Recently Aaron told Chas he was going away for the weekend just as Robert went on a business trip, doesn’t that seem suspicious?”

Chrissie thought about it, she had seen her husband talking to the younger man and she would admit that it was strange. She had even talked to Robert about it “it doesn’t look right for us to associate with criminals, what would our clients think?” The man had just rolled his eyes and told her that she was exaggerating “it’s not like we’re best friends.” Now as she thought about it, it all made sense. She felt fury overwhelm her at Robert humiliating her in such a way but she wasn’t going to let it slide.

“Where is he!?”

“I followed Aaron to get proof because I couldn’t let Robert hurt someone else, I’ll take you.”


Hotel

While Robert was busy getting them room service to recover from their first three rounds, Aaron wondered when Katie would arrive with Chrissie. He knew that the woman had followed him and while he could’ve lost her or taken care of her, he let her followed him. Aaron wanted to get caught, he was tired of sharing Robert with the bitch he called a fiancé. He smirked at the thought of Chrissie’s face when she realized that Robert was no longer hers.

“What has you so smug?”

A shirtless Robert walked in with a smile on his face; he crawled on the bed until he was straddling Aaron’s thighs. “Just thinking about what’s coming next” Robert lean forward until their foreheads were touching “oh yeah, and what’s that?” Aaron smirked at the man on top of him, kissing him “you’ll just have to wait and see.” Then he pulled the older man in for another kiss not giving him time to think or response.

The idea of Robert really being completely his and only his really got him going “someone is ready to go again.” Robert smirked as he felt Aaron’s hard dick poke him “and you aren’t old man?” Aaron teased as Robert pretended to be offended, in the living area Peritas took advantage of being alone and not on duty to take a nap on the soft and expensive sofa. The three were unaware of the storm that was heading their way; well at least two of them were unaware while the other was anxiously awaiting it.


Katie and Chrissie arrived to the hotel that looked more like a manor or chateau than a hotel “this might be more than a simple affair, I never known Robert to splurge on anyone but himself.” Katie looked around; a part of her was envious that all she got was quickies in the barn at the Sugden farm.

This new woman got a grand hotel ‘could Robert actually be in love with this one’ she couldn’t help but wonder and for some reason that thought made her feel uneasy. In a village that was constantly changed, Robert Sugden was the one constant at least when he was in the village, always the same smarmy prat. Always selfish and manipulative, she couldn’t image a different Robert or the man ever changing.

Chrissie on the other hand was hoping that Katie was wrong and that Chrissie could laugh about the woman’s delusion and obsession with her fiancé. “Perhaps you are wrong…?” Chrissie started until they both saw Robert’s very recognizable car “I don’t think I am.” Katie smirked at seeing the moment Chrissie realizes that she wasn’t really special. Robert used and manipulated everyone; he did not fall in love or let anyone ‘tame.’ What the woman didn’t know was that as they walked towards the hotel Aaron was watching them through a window with a smirk on his face.

‘Time to kill two birds with one stone’

He closed the curtains as Robert walked out of the bathroom a towel around his waist “what has you so smug again?” The blond man asked with a smile drying his hair “just the fact that I wore you out.” Robert raised an eyebrow but did not deny the claim just rolled his eyes affectionately “Okay George Best, how about you take a shower while I order room service.” Aaron smiled at Robert’s old references and laughed when the man slammed his arse as he walked by.

“Watch it! You might get me going again.”

“Hold that kink, we will explore that later.”

Aaron moan at the thought of being spanked by Robert until his arse was red, the sound made Robert laugh deviously “tease!” The exclamation only made Robert laugh louder, an excited Peritas greeted Robert with a grin and a furiously wagging tail. “Hey Peritas, thank you for being such a good boy.” Robert gave the excited dog a lot of love to show his appreciation “how about we go for a walk?” The word made Peritas jump up in excitement, Robert smiled “okay, let’s put on your vest…”

Normally he doesn’t put on Peritas vest when he takes the dog on a walk mainly because he wants the dog to enjoy his walks freely and when Peritas has the vest on he is all work. But unfortunately the only reason Peritas was allowed in such a nice hotel was because he was a service dog and Robert wanted to avoid the questions he would get if staff and people saw him without it.

(AN: Did some research on service dogs and rules although these laws are mainly in the US, so it might not be completely accurate.) At least Robert didn’t want to deal with more stares, whispers and grief than usual. They won’t kick him out since Robert has his ID card and official papers but it would just be a hassle to show the ID card every time they’re stop by some skeptical arsehole although Peritas looked very handsome in his ID picture.

“Okay, let’s go!”

Robert texted Aaron to let the younger man know that he took Peritas on a walk and will bring food when he came back. The red vest stood out brightly against Peritas black and brown coat, to Robert it felt like a beacon that called to everyone “HEY! LOOK AT THE NUT!” His psychotherapist talked to him about his harsh view of himself “Robert you have to stop being so hard on yourself. Remember you’re not as special as you might think there are many people with Bipolar Disorder and they are living with it every day…”

To others the words may sound harsh but to Robert it helped to hear that he wasn’t the only one and that others have dealt and are dealing with life screwing them over mentally. “…So you must give yourself a break because you are NOT crazy, you are different but that doesn’t mean you’re not normal. Normal is a variable term, it has different meanings for everyone and for you this is normal. Don’t try to follow others version of normal because that would only make you misery and set you out for failure.” The words reminded him that he needed to get back on his therapies ‘I just don’t want to deal with getting use to a new psychotherapist.’

Peritas loved the hotel’s massive grounds; Robert let him off the leash and let him run around to release pent up energy. He followed after the dog with his poop bags to be ready; he doesn’t want to get any complaints from anyone. “Stop trying to apologize or make up for your condition, it’s not something that you can control or that you should be ashamed of.” He heard the strong and firm voice of his Gran scolding him like she did whenever he got too down from the stares that people send him and Peritas’ vest.

Robert is very proud of Peritas, the dog was brilliant and to Robert he understood more than people thought he did. That was why he wasn’t surprise when the dog ran over to the tree edge far away from the hotel and high traffic areas to do his business, he was proud but not surprise. The German Shepard was very perceptive and intuitive but Robert figures that could be his service dog training. Unfortunately he couldn’t play but he promised Peritas to play when he took him out later, instead he ran a little with him and roughed housed a little bit.

‘Maybe I can order some steak and potato…’

Robert thought as they walked back towards the hotel, to him Aaron seemed like a good hardy steak kind of man ‘he definitely loves meat…’ Robert smirked at his own innuendo wiping Peritas paws and getting kisses as a thank you in return before they went inside. He missed the appreciative and interested look some send his way, people could never resist a good looking man with a dog, it was a deadly combination.

On his way to the front desk to place his order Robert saw a sight that turned his blood to ice; an angry Chrissie and a smug Katie were waiting in line to speak to an agent. ‘How did they find us!? Damn it!’ Robert was panicking; it was only Peritas firm presence at his side that kept him from losing his cool completely. He had to think of something, he couldn’t just run because the women probably saw his car. The only good thing was that Robert was smart enough to not reserve the room under his name.

‘I did put my card in the system so they might have my name fortunately hotels don’t give up that information. Damn it!’

Robert was great at thinking on his feet, he walked over to the restaurant bar to hide and hope that something came to him. Chrissie had never been this close to catching him even when he slept with her sister under their roof. “Oh I know that face…” Robert turned to see an old man in a three piece suit the reminded him of Hugh Hefner if the man was a gangster in the 20s. “What…?” The man smirked “…that is the face of a man about to get caught.” The old man’s eyes were full of understanding and mischief.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Son, I have had five wives and countless lovers…I know what I’m talking about.”

Robert was impressed, a part of him admired the man’s operation but a larger part couldn’t help but feel exhausted just thinking about having so many relationships and keeping them all going. Either way the old man felt like a kindred spirit, someone that would understand him without judging him or looking at him like he was the villain of the story. 

The old man just sat down and listened, he raised an eyebrow when Robert talked about Aaron but other than that he listened patiently. “I might not be able to help with the feelings but I can help with the current situation.” The old man smirk and once again Robert found himself almost looking at an older version on himself ‘I see what people mean by a face you want to punch, so smug yet deviously handsome’ Robert smirked at the last part.


Chrissie was losing her patience as the guest service agent of the hotel refused to give her Robert’s information, the man even refused to confirm if her fiancé was staying in the hotel. The manager was even less helpful “madam it is against hotel policy, we must protect our guest privacy. Unless you have a legal or medical order I cannot give you that information.” Chrissie was furious, she was full blown ‘do you know who I am!?’ and ‘I want to speak to your boss’ angry which meant she wasn’t above causing a scene.

“Chrissie? What are you doing here?” Chrissie turned to see a surprise Robert walking over with Peritas by his side.

“See! I told you he was here.”

“Katie!? What’s going on?”

“Where is she!? I defended you against daddy, for you to do this to me!?”

“Chrissie, I have no idea what you’re talking about…” Robert looked around humiliated by the scene the woman was creating “…but let’s go talk…”

“No! I’m not falling for your lies, I’m not one of the dumb cows you’re use to manipulating.”

At this time people walking by stared at the trio and mumble, Robert was getting dirty looks from the women while the men send him looks of sympathy yet a ‘better you than me’ shrugged. Katie was smirking at Robert so please and smug as she fanned the flames whenever Robert tried to calm Chrissie down. Robert glared at the woman that seemed to have become obsessed with his relationship since he arrived.

He was furious that Katie’s obsession ruined his weekend with Aaron and for the first time Robert wanted to slam her. Robert was not like his brother he had never hit a woman but even he had a limit of gender respect before he shot back ‘respect is mutual and it was earned not given based on gender.’ Chrissie was still going on her rants about how he was nobody when she met him and everything he had was thanks to her. It had nothing to do with his hard work, experience and abilities, no it was all her because she was god and devil in his life.

“Mr. Sugden is this a bad time…?”

The trio turned to see a sharply dressed older man walking over; he seemed unimpressed and disgusted by the display. “Mr. Chapman! Forgive me for leaving you for so long, I was just taking care of a personal matter” Robert used what Chrissie called his client charming voice, smiling at the old man as if his fiancé hadn’t been just causing a scene. “Who are this…ladies?” The old man looked them both up and down then turned as if finding them lacking something which offended them.

“These are my…fiancé and my brother’s wife” Robert sounded like it was a struggle to admit that before the man, then he turned to a finally quiet Chrissie.

“Chrissie…this is Mr. Chapman…the possible client I told you I was meeting.”

Robert glared at the woman and suddenly Chrissie felt like a fool “actually I don’t think that will work for me, I see that your business…” Again he looked at Chrissie and then Katie as if they were dirty beggars at a royal ball, Chrissie knew that look well, she had given it to many people “…is not what I’m looking for.” Robert played his part of desperate salesman about to lose a sale “Mr. Chapman I’m sure we can work something out, this is just a misunderstanding…” The older man waved his hand dismissively.

“You are talented son, have quite a bit of potential…Just need to choose the people you associate yourself with more carefully.”

The old man walked away leaving the trio in silence, they had long lost the interest of the audience around them as everyone had also gone back to their everyday business. Robert turned and glared furiously at his fiancé “are you happy now!? Your stupid insecurities lost us a multimillion pounds deal, all because you had to listen to the crazy cow that has a vendetta against me.” Robert exclaimed pointed to an offended Katie, Chrissie looked like a child scold for misbehaving.

“Robert I…”

“I told you I was meeting a client, a very important client and I was taking the weekend so that I made sure we got this deal but your new best friend screams wolf and you immediately get your rifle out not caring if you hit a dog.”

Robert petted Peritas almost apologizing for that analogy “Robert I am sorry…” Chrissie’s eyes began to water but Robert knew her better than that whenever Robert got close to breaking up the woman would bring out the water works. She would make him feel like a monster for being mad and the fact that she was doing it in public meant that she was trying to reverse the papers and seem like the victim to an abusive boyfriend.

‘To bad she doesn’t realize she is trying to play a game with a pro not an amateur’

“Don’t even go there, I have done everything you ask, given you everything I am and all I ask was for you to trust me. I can’t do this…”

Chrissie and Katie’s eyes both widened they had no idea that Robert would go that route, Katie was sure that he would warm his way back and take Chrissie’s apology since she was still positive that he was cheating. Chrissie panicked; Robert could not break up with her and especially not in public “Robert, don’t make hasty decisions; I made a mistake. Please don’t do this, I promise that I will never doubt you again.” And there it was Katie realized what Robert was working towards; she could see it in the glint in the man’s eyes.

“I just don’t think we’re right…if your trust in me is shaken so easily by someone you don’t know that well…”

“Don’t listen to him; he’s trying to manipulate you. It’s what he does…” Katie tried to make Chrissie see, Robert gestured to the woman as if to say ‘see’

“And here I thought that with that money I could give you the honeymoon you deserved…”

“Katie, that’s enough! I trust my fiancé and I will have no more of this” just like that Robert won the battle, he had Chrissie’s trust and it was blindly given.

He thought about making the woman beg and grovel a little more but he thought that it was better not to test his luck. “No more doubts and insecurities then…” he walked over gently placing his hands on Chrissie’s face as she shook her head “…because I love you but I don’t know how much more I can take.” He played his part of hurt but forgiven husband, the fool so stupidly in love with his girlfriend that he would easily forgive anything.

“It won’t happen again, I promise.”

“Good, because I actually want to marry you”

Robert smiled softly and maneuvered Chrissie’s face to kiss her gently; the woman wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed back with far more enthusiasm. Once he pulled back he stared into her eyes before pulling her into a hug, with Chrissie’s face buried in his shoulder he took the time to smirk at a fuming Katie. He was unaware that in the shadows Aaron watched the scene and burned with jealousy, he was furious and he wanted to kill someone preferably Chrissie or Katie.

Aaron had gotten impatient when Robert didn’t come back; he had heard some guest talking about the poor bloke with a dog getting yelled at. He ran over just to see Robert talking to Chrissie with Katie standing behind her. Aaron could see that somehow Robert got away with their affair unfortunately for Aaron the man found a way to keep it all hidden. The moment he saw Robert kiss Chrissie he knew there was no way he was getting the man back, he was promised a weekend but it was ruined and Aaron wanted blood.

Not just blood, he wanted blood and screams of pain, he wanted to release all the anger and frustration that he felt inside ‘and sex is obviously no longer an option.’ He turned to the glaring Katie and he knew who was to blame for him losing out on Robert, he ignored the part he played in the woman finding out where they were. Aaron looked up and met blue/grey eyes that screamed ‘sorry’ and ‘I’ll make it up to you.’ He couldn’t really be too mad at Robert because Aaron was the one that wanted them to get caught, if he had been cautious Katie wouldn’t have known where they were and he would have Robert all weekend.

Aaron put on his ‘I don’t really care’ face and shrugged as if it was no big deal but the wrinkle of the older man’s eyebrows told him that Robert didn’t really believe him. His phone pinged with a notification; it was Robert asking him to get his bag. Aaron had never felt more like the mistress since they started the affair, the mistress that only gets a few hours and lives in the shadows of false joy.

‘This is no longer working; there are four players in a game made for two…’ Aaron stared at Chrissie as she played the sickeningly sweet doting fiancé ‘…if I want to win, you have to go…’ then he turned to fuming Katie following behind them ‘…and you have out lived your usefulness.’

Chapter Text

More beast than man

The village was buzzing as the date was finally set for Chrissie and Robert’s wedding, they all saw as preparations began for the seemingly grand event that would happened in three months. Everyone was excited for the wedding mainly to have an excuse to party and gossip but also because they knew that a wedding where Robert Sugden was involve in usually always had some drama or fireworks. Robert rolled his eyes every time he saw the people look at him and whisper, he knew they were waiting for him to create some scandal that they can enjoy but he wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction, he was no longer their dancing monkey.

‘Although they might get their wish it just won’t be provided by me…’

Recently Aaron hasn’t been too happy with him since the fail weekend gateway; they had a massive fight when the younger man heard Robert had set a date for the wedding. Robert had never seen Aaron so furious it was terrifying yet a part of him was also turned on. They hadn’t met as much as Robert would want since Chrissie was keeping him busy with wedding preparations. The woman had been on her best behavior since the hotel but Katie hadn’t stop her mission to catch him so unfortunately he also had to be on his best behavior.


Flashback

“Are you serious!?”

“Aaron, what did you expect? We both knew what this was; you knew I was getting married…”

“Yet you seemed perfectly interested in still fucking me…”

The vulgar and harsh tone Aaron used made Robert flinch; it reminded him of how wrong what they were doing was. Honestly Aaron was right, they should’ve stopped before it got too far but part of Robert didn’t want to and another knew it was too late. Robert despite what others believed was actually observant and aware of other people’s feeling so he was aware of Aaron’s…attachment. It was the same attachment that Robert was being overwhelmed by and trying very hard but failing to ignore.

“That’s because I thought we were on the same page, that we both knew that this was all fun. That we both knew that this…” he gesture to them together, they had been yelling for what felt like hours and he just wanted it to stop “…was not endgame.”

There was a flash in Aaron’s eyes that worried and scared Robert, not for himself, he never felt in danger around Aaron ‘the opposite actually.’ What worried him was the possessive glint that spoke of not giving up. Aaron’s clear blue eyes darken with challenge as if Robert had dared him to proof him wrong. Instead of responding Aaron grabbed him and kissed him passionately leaving Robert breathless.

“Who are you trying to fool, me…” Robert chased those tantalizing lips that pull him in like a treat does to a dog “…or yourself?”

Robert tried to compose himself and get some resemblance of control over his desires as Aaron smirked knowing that he had him like a puppet on a string. It pissed Robert off, if there was one thing he hated was people thinking they could control him. Whenever he felt that way, Robert would lash out and try to prove to himself that he was in completely control of himself which usually meant hurting the person in question. “Do you think that maybe it has something to do with the control that your father had over you and the way that made you feel…?” He ignored his therapist words and did what he does best.

“Just because you’re needy and get easily attached doesn’t mean we’re all the same. I’m marrying Chrissie because I love her and I fuck you because you’re easy and there.” Robert smirked as Aaron’s smirk disappear and was replace by a glare “if it wasn’t you it would’ve been someone else, you’re not that special.”

“The fact that you are lashing out like a toddler throwing a tantrum or a wild animal that was attacked makes me think that I am.”

End flashback


It has been a week since their argument and they haven’t talk since then, Robert missed the younger man and it irritated him that he found himself searching for the man every time he enter the pub. His eyes always subconsciously searched out for Aaron wherever he went, Katie was noticing his distraction and she was smart enough to put together that whoever Robert was cheating on Chrissie with was inside the village.

The revelation shocked her since she knew everyone in the village, she made a list of all the women in the village ‘I wouldn’t put it pass him to manipulate a minor, probably to inflate his ego’ so after some thought she added teenage girls to the list as well. She went around following or trying to get information out of the ‘suspects’ and crossing their names out. She got a lot of looks of confusion and even annoyance but Katie knew that it was important to unmask Robert.

“Why are you so obsessed with him!? Do you still have feelings for him!?”

Andy was getting angry with her obsession but he didn’t realize how important it was for her not to let Robert get away with using and destroying someone else’s life “do you really think it’s fair to let him destroy someone else!? As someone that had suffered the consequence of his machinations, I don’t want anyone else to suffer through that.” Andy didn’t understand her because he would rather let others drown and avoid his brother at all cost than stand up to him, she loved Andy but he was weak.

‘Not like Robert who goes against and challenges anyone in his way.’

“I don’t care! I don’t want him in our lives, you know that getting in his business will only bring his attention on us and then we become targets to his madness. Is that what you want? Maybe you miss being victim to Robert Sugden…”

She had slapped the man not letting him finish that sentence, Katie wasn’t sure if it was because it was true or because it was offensive, she was still trying to figure it out for herself. ‘He’s still ruining our life together, that’s why he needs to leave…’ Robert was creating tension between Andy and her again but this time she wasn’t going to let him break them. ‘That’s why I had to find out who he’s cheating with, once I have proof everyone will see that I was right…’ She knew that once she had proof, things will go back to the way they were and once more the village would kick Robert out and take her side like before ‘hopefully this time it will be forever.’


  2 months before wedding

It’s been a few weeks since Robert and Aaron were together; they still searched for each other where ever they went in the village and stared at each other when in the same room. Aaron mainly glared jealously at Chrissie as the woman had become the blond man’s shadow, where ever Robert was she was there hanging from his arm like a snake or a monkey. For some reason Robert felt guilty, sending Aaron apologetic looks which Aaron pretended to ignore.

“How have you been?” Robert always tried to sweeten Aaron with a soft tone and caring words.

“Great! I’m single and can fuck whoever and whenever I want, I’m free what’s better than that?” The sarcasm was always harsh and cold; it made Robert flinch because it was a side of Aaron that he didn’t know or ever witness until then.

“Aaron…”

“Shouldn’t you get back to your fiancé; she doesn’t seem okay with leaving you alone.”

“Why are you being like this? We both knew what we were…”

“Did we? In that case, why the bloody hell are you still here?”

“…”

Instead of responding Robert pushed Aaron against a corner of the bathroom entrance and crashed their lips together. As much as Aaron wanted to push him away and stay strong, he couldn’t. He missed the older man’s kisses like crazy ‘pretty sure I’m addicted to him…’ so he responded with equal passion and heat. Aaron could taste blood but he wasn’t sure who it belonged to and didn’t really care, instead he grabbed onto Robert’s leather jacket for dear life.

Robert felt just as desperate, like a man dying of thirst and being given water for the first time. It was refreshing, like an addict getting a fix after trying to quit cold turkey. They pulled away when the need to breath was too strong to ignore, their panting filled the small space “Neither of us can stop this…at least not yet...meet me at the barn tonight.” It wasn’t a question and Aaron didn’t give an answer because they both knew that he would be there. Robert pulled away and sent Aaron his signature smug smirk before walking out.

Once he was able to calm down, Aaron became frustrated and angry at the power that the blond man had over him. He ran a criminal empire that made everyone piss their pants at the mere sound of his name yet Robert had him feeling…human. Aaron hated it, he was more of the type of person that would rather ignore his feelings; it was safer to be a beast because that meant that the only thing that could hurt him was physical pain. ‘Maybe I should kill him…?’ the mere image of a bloody and lifeless Robert made him sick and furious at the same time.

‘NO!’ He shook the very thought out of his head that was not a possibility, he peaked out to the pub and saw Chrissie again hanging from Robert’s arms ‘it’s easier to just kill everyone around him, make sure that he was mine and only mine.’

Aaron smirked at the image of a bloody and lifeless Chrissie, sure Robert won’t be happy but the man would eventually forgive him. He was sure that with a fancy trip and a luxury hotel some where the blond man could be pampered all would be forgiven; his prat seemed to really like money and the good life. Aaron could provide him a better life than Chrissie could ever give him ‘with amazing sex and no nagging.’ Aaron had never wanted anything for himself, when he was younger all he wanted was safety and love.

He wanted his father’s approval and love; he wanted to be liked by the other kids in school. Most of all Aaron wanted to not be terrify of the dark, to not feel dirty or to hate himself anymore. He was tired of throwing up every time his father left after their little sessions of ‘discipline’ because no matter how much he threw up the taste never went away. Aaron had remembered thinking about how disgusting he was for making his father do that to him. ‘It was always my fault…’ until one night that he got up and followed his father to his room and the man was sleeping peacefully with a satisfy smile on his face.

“Aaron you know I hate doing this, but you make me do this because you’re such a bad boy.”

“I know…”

“You know what…?”

“I know daddy.” The man always forced him to call him daddy and punished him if he didn’t, Aaron at the time foolishly thought that it meant that his father still loved him and cared.

‘The stupidity and naivety of a child…’

“That’s my boy; see if you were a good boy I wouldn’t have to punish you.”

Safety and love was too much to ask for Aaron and he learned that the hard way, after that all he wanted was his father to stop or someone to save him but he never did and no one ever came. ‘That was also too much to ask…’ when he was a teen, he stopped asking for things and realized that he had to take it because no one will watch out for his best interest but himself. He didn’t let his father win and turn him into a broken trembling victim; it wasn’t his fault, he wasn’t the one that needed to be punished and suffer.

That night was the only time that Aaron was selfish and took what he wanted, revenge and control. Even after getting his revenge the man left a mark, Aaron always felt that there was no point of wishing or wanting anything because he never got it. He wasn’t one of those people that were reward by life. Aaron had only been two things in his life, a torn and abused doll or a cold and cruel beast, neither of which deserved nice things. No, Aaron was never selfish because he didn’t deserve it but with Robert he wanted to be.

For the first time in his life, Aaron wanted something not for the family or business but for himself. He wanted Robert and he didn’t want to share him, he didn’t want to break him or use him ‘I want him in my life, the way I’ve never wanted or trusted anyone else before.’ For the first time since his father was alive Aaron felt fear, Robert was making him human. It has been a long time since Aaron was human; he had forgotten what it was like

‘Not sure if I can still do it.’ Aaron looked up from his spot at the bar and saw Robert laughing with Vic, the man looked up and smirked mischievously as he caught Aaron staring ‘but damn if for him I don’t want to try.’

In the Dingle warehouse the sound of metal hitting flesh and blood filled the room that was beginning to smell of cooper, vomit and urine. The bruised and bloody knuckles that held the metal bat swung again hitting flesh and getting more screams in return. Around the room five other men coward on their knees knowing that they were next but hoping that the person would tired and finish taking out their anger on their comrade.

“Plea…Please…N…More…”

“What was that? You want more? Well if you insist, who am I to deny the boss…”

The person again swung but this time the sound of bones breaking filled the room with a sickening crack followed by a pain filled scream “AAAHHH!” The men on their knees flinched violently, their stomachs too empty to expel anything as they watched the bloody broken and whimpering pile that their fearless ‘boss’ had been turn into. They just sat there paralyzed although even if they wanted to help they couldn’t for behind them stood two men and two women completely stoic, seemingly unbothered by the violence before them but ready to stop them if they tried to interfere or run.

At this point they were used to their boss’ temper and often harsh punishment; fortunately it was usually directed at those that tried to betray the family or their enemies so as long as they were loyal and followed the rules of the family they knew that they were relatively safe. To the new recruits it was jarring but to those that had been on since the boss took power it was another Tuesday. Instead they shook their heads at the stupidity and arrogance it takes to try to get one over their boss.

‘You would think they would learn by now…’

Debbie knew that something had happened; at this point she knew how to distinguish between Aaron’s controlled temper and the unhinged one. Recently Aaron had gone back to the unhinged temper so she knew that something had change in her cousin’s personal life. The man that had at this point lost consciousness ‘probably dead’ had tried to start his own criminal empire with the Dingle merchandise. He and his men had been stealing not only merchandise but also money from them in Liverpool ‘the audacity to do it right in our own backyard.’ She sent the pile of broken bones a glare.

The metal bat clang loudly as it fell to the floor and Debbie looked at up wondering if Aaron finally had enough, the man was glaring down at the broken mess as if insulted that the man couldn’t take more. She was still surprised to see him completely compose, he wasn’t even out of breath ‘how does he do it!?’ After their years working together she couldn’t figure out how Aaron could beat someone to death sometimes with his hands and not be out of breath.

“Is he dead?”

Aaron’s voice snapped everyone from their thoughts breaking the trance in the room, one of his men rushed over and checked before shaking his head. Aaron still felt the pent up energy inside him that was pushing through after his failed meeting with Robert. ‘Damn it! It’s not enough…’ he turned to the men on their knees to the side making them all flinch; he glared at the vomit and urine at their knees.

‘All from seeing a man get beat up; the world has gone soft these days…’

He shook his head in disappointment; he looked down at his bloody and peeled knuckles wondering if it was worth it. “Wake him up…” he pointed to the man at his feet “…then shoot them while he watches…” the order made pleading filled the room “Please we have families…” one of them begged sobbing “you want them to join you?” the casual question from Aaron shock them into silence.

“No!”

“Please!”

“Don’t...!”

“Have mercy…”

Again Aaron just rolled his eyes at the pathetic display “then shut up and take your punishment like the men you thought you were…” They were once again shock by the cruelty of the man before them, they had heard that the boss of the Dingle family was a beast but they didn’t believe it until that moment “do you have no feelings!? How can a human be so cruel!?” One of the men screamed in a moment of bravery but when Aaron turned to him with cold blue eyes like the eyes of an ice dragon, piercing and harsh, the bravery was gone.

Aaron grabbed the man by his throat pulling him up and squeezing, he watched as the man struggled and scratched at his hand trying to break free as breathing became harder. For a few sweet moments Aaron saw not the man before him but Chrissie struggling as he squeezed the life out of her, he saw the terror and pleading in her eyes. Her face wet with tears, snot, and saliva making her posh and expensive make up run like a clown in the rain. He watched her regret looking at Robert let alone making him feel like less. Aaron smiled a cruel and bone chilling smile in its joy and satisfaction at the death of another person.

As the life left the person’s eyes and their body sagged, Aaron let go and watched it fall with a glazed look in his eyes as his fantasy broke. The smile dimmed as he remembered that it was not Chrissie whose life he had in his hand. In his pocket his phone felt like a hot coal, the text Robert send him canceling their meeting still unanswered and he was back to angry. “I never said I was human.” He responded to the now dead man at his feet before turning and walking away.

“Take care of them then clean this up.”

He tuned out the pleading and walked out of the room with Debbie following after him, they still had to figure out how to fix the mess that the man’s stupidity left them. “Feeling better?” Debbie asked wondering which Aaron she was dealing with “no” she was surprised she even got an answer. She didn’t push it by asking anything else but she knew that it most likely had to do with the bloke he was seeing.

“I’ll call the doctor to take care of those hands”

“Let’s check the books and see what we need to do to fix the mess sack of bones left behind.”


Four days later

Chas knew that she was hovering but she couldn’t help it, Debbie had told her that Aaron was back to being unhinged and that worried. She saw his hands under the bandages when Belle changed them for him and she wondered if maybe he broke up with his bloke. It scared her that she could see the darkness taking over her son once more. She tried to get him to talk about it which only got her a fierce glare.

So she called back-up in the form of Paddy who her son had a soft spot for, she used to be jealous by how much Paddy could get her son to open up but she accepted that it was her fault. “He’s losing it again” she exclaimed “what do you want me to do?” Paddy already seemed overwhelmed and out of his depth. “Just talk to him, see what he tells you” it seemed so easy but Paddy more than anyone knew the results of pushing Aaron.

As they heard the footsteps coming down the stairs Chas rushed out the pub door throwing Paddy to the lion, not really giving him a choice. “Paddy? What are you doing here?” Aaron looked at him curiously “thought you might want to talk” he said softly and Aaron frown “no.” He walked over to the kitchen fixing himself some tea and toast “that’s okay, I’ll just sit hear quietly. Make me one…” Aaron raised his eyebrow but pulled out another mug making Paddy smile that the younger man wasn’t too annoyed.

(AN: I kept a lot of elements from the conversation in the show but because the situation and Aaron is different, I had to change some parts.)

“…but if you do want to talk…”

“I don’t”

“…but if you do…”

“…but I don’t!”

“…then I’m here.”

The room was silent as Aaron prepared the teas and waited for his toast, for Paddy it was awkward but he would be patient until Aaron felt comfortable enough to talk. Unlike Chas he didn’t want to force the young man to talk, he wanted Aaron to know that he could talk if he needed to and Paddy would listen. “I know what you’re like when you bottle things up...” the words made Aaron look at him “do you?” the sarcasm was clear in his voice there was also something dark in it, a promise or a threat “…you can trust me.”

Again the room was filled with silence as Aaron tried to ignore the man and prepared his toast while Paddy took a sip of his tea. ‘I should’ve brought pints’ he thought as the silence felt uncomfortable “Aaron I can’t help you if you don’t tell me.” Aaron looked at him before biting a piece of toast “who said I needed your help…” the words were harsh and Paddy tried not to take them personally “…you can’t help anyway.”

“Then I’ll just listen then.”

For some reason the words seemed to be the key to opening the dam of emotions that Aaron had locked away. He wanted to talk to someone, the only person he felt comfortable talking to wasn’t available ‘and was the center of the problem.’ He needed to talk to someone before he burst or killed most of the population. So he told Paddy about the hotel without revealing any names, just keeping it all general.

“So he’s not single…?”

“What gave it away?” Paddy ignored the sarcasm since he knew it was one of Aaron’s defaults.

“…And you didn’t know?”

“…” Aaron drank some tea and Paddy had his answered “…it didn’t stop me did it.”

“I’m not…”

“Yea you are.”

Paddy drank some tea trying to regain some composure as Aaron looked off into the distance as if lost in his own thoughts or memories of the man. There was something is his eyes that Paddy didn’t recognized and made him believe that this man was far more important than a simple affair. “Would you like my advice…?” Aaron looked at him unimpressed “aren’t you going to give it anyways.”

“I think you should bail, I don’t want to see you get hurt…”

“I’ll be fine”

“You will if you forget about him.”

The words got him a fierce glare as if Paddy had suggested something both impossible and cruel like killing a puppy. “I can’t…” the words were spit out as if Aaron was trying to hold them in but he couldn’t “what’s so special about this one!? You really like him…?” Paddy saw the subdue nod and suddenly a realization hit him “…Is it more than that…do you love him!?”

He couldn’t believe the Aaron was in love, unlike Chas he didn’t think that the boy was a psychopath but he did believe that Aaron was close off and wouldn’t let anyone inside so easily. There were very few people that had the patience to get through all the walls that Aaron has built. The nod made his eyes widen even Aaron seemed to be surprise by the confession. “Does he know!?” Now Paddy wanted to meet the person that has done what he was sure even Jackson didn’t fully do.

“What do you think…” the ‘I just realized it myself’ was left unsaid but Paddy heard it “…I shouldn’t have… I knew there was someone else, we both made it clear what this was but I just…”

It was clear that Aaron was both angry and frustrated with himself and the situation, Paddy tried to reassure him that maybe if Aaron shared his feelings the bloke might return them and choose him. Aaron knew contrary even if Robert returned his feeling the man wouldn’t chose him if he could avoid it. He saw the same look in Robert’s eyes that Aaron had before he came out, it was the look of disgust and shame in himself.

“I only have two choices and one is not something I’m able to do any more.”

“What are they?” Paddy asked worry about what Aaron would do.

“Finish it or…make sure I’m his only choice.”

Paddy choked at the second option and fell into a coughing fit trying to get air in his lung; Aaron seemed unbothered by the older man’s outburst. Instead he seemed to be plotting and Paddy didn’t like that look “please tell me that the one you’re not able to do is the second one…” Aaron just sent him a look that clearly said ‘what do you think’ and Paddy panic “Aaron! You can’t, you should run a mile…you…you can’t force…” Paddy tried to get his point across but the stuttering got the better of him.

“It’s not forcing if he wants it…”

“But if he’s no…not ready you can’t…”

Aaron just looked at Paddy ashamed “you’re right” and the older man breathed easy as he saw that he put some sense into Aaron’s head before he did something drastic. “Good, now take my advice and just run. There are plenty of fish in the sea and all that…” Aaron smiled slightly ‘but none like Robert’ and nodded making Paddy feel even better. “You scared me there for a minute…” Aaron laughed “oh come on Paddy you didn’t really think I was going to what go on a rampage?”

“You never know, I’m glad I was wrong.” The man finished his tea “if you need to talk or someone to just listen, I’m here.”

Aaron nodded and smiled gratefully, as soon as the man was out the room he wiped his smile away and the dark glint was back in his eyes. That was the good thing about Paddy, he was so easy to fool “sorry Paddy but I refuse to let that cow keep what’s mine.” He glared as began to plotting; if he couldn’t convince Robert to stop the wedding then he needed a plan to stop it from happening.


“There you are! I’ve been looking for you…”

Robert walked in with a big grin on his face and out of breath; there was a pure joy in his face like someone that just solved some major problem and was so proud of himself. Aaron wanted to sarcastically snap ‘where else would I be?’ but he was powerless in the face of Robert’s real smile and joy. The blond man always seemed to have a limit on his expression, never giving too much and just showing what he wanted other to see.

So Aaron savored the rare times when Robert’s defenses were down and he got a glimpse into the man without his filters and masks. Turns out Robert is a giant dork with an innocent almost joy in things, if Aaron was a therapist he would say that it had something to do with the blonde’s crappy childhood and not being able to be a child…but he is not.

“What’s got you so excited then? Mama put you on a longer leash?” Robert just rolled his eyes and ignored the jest “I finally find a solution to our situation and this is what I get…” Aaron was intrigued by the words; a part of him hoped that the solution was Robert leaving Chrissie but he knew it wasn’t.

“Alright then let’s hear this brilliant plan.”

“Let’s go into business together.”

“I thought we already were” Aaron wiggled his eyebrows and smirk making Robert roll his eyes.

“If we start a business, we would have the perfect reason to see each other and don’t have to make up dumb excuses…”

“You mean you don’t have to make up dumb excuses.”

“…and if we had some sort of office then we have the perfect place to…” Robert moved closer and hoover over Aaron giving him a suggestive look.

“That’s your brilliant plan?”

“Come on it’s a great idea, I’ll even let you run things and just be a silent investor.”

“I don’t think…”

They both heard footsteps heading their way from pub so Robert pulled back “think about it” and left through the house front door.  Chas walked in from the pub getting an annoyed look from Aaron for unknowingly cock-blocking him. “Is everything okay love?” He could tell the woman was fishing for information ‘so Paddy hasn’t blab.’ “Why wouldn’t it be?” Aaron left the room before Chas could get going because he had no doubt that she was the one to send Paddy and the woman would probably force everything out of the older man.


Moving around some money in the company was so easy that Robert wondered how the Whites made it so far without being robbed. He was able to easily transfer ten thousand pounds to the account that he kept hidden from Chrissie. “That should be a big enough investment to start a business” the idea came to him when he noticed that Chrissie only left him alone when he was working. The woman had become his shadow wherever he went expect when he went to meet with clients or went to the loo.

He knew that a part of her still believed that he was cheating on her, it didn’t help that Katie kept her rhetoric of him being the big bad. Both women were frustrating him to the point that he had been feeling restless for the last few days. Peritas had become his shadow at all times annoying Chrissie when the dog would whine at their bedroom door at night until he was let in. Peritas would also make sure that he would take his medicine by bringing the case in which Robert had them organized wherever the man was, fortunately the dog hasn’t done it in front of others.

If he had really paid attention or hadn’t been too distracted in everything going on or keeping his secret he would’ve realized what that meant. There was a reason that Peritas was a service animal and not an emotional support animal, the dog was trained not only to bring him his pills and fetch things but also to notice when an episode was coming and warn him so that he could take precautions.

It was something about the done being able to smell it or something…Robert didn’t really listen when the trainer explained it. Normally Robert is very observant to Peritas’ behavior because it helps him sometimes avoid episodes but with all the stress of the wedding, Katie’s campaign against him and Aaron being angry with him, Robert was being pulled in so many directions that it was easy to confuse it with normal, everyday, healthy people pressure and stress.

That should’ve been his first sign, he was never normal or healthy but he wanted to believe for a few moments that he was. Robert hasn’t had an episode since their trip to Vienna when he went slightly manic and almost bought a whole candy store. Fortunately the depression didn’t hit him too hard after and with Peritas he was able to power through it. ‘Didn’t want to off myself for once’ which for him was a relatively light episode.

Also he had been taking his medications so there shouldn’t have be a reason why he should have an episode, although the doctor had told him that his pills cocktail could need to be change or updated as his condition changed. The truth was that Robert wanted to for once ignore his disorder; he wanted to be normal and enjoy the moment.

With Aaron he felt normal or at least he didn’t feel like the messed up one ‘but then again maybe the fact that I’m thinking that actually does make me the messed up one.’ That was why he ignored Peritas and explained it of as normal dog clingy behavior then focused back on thinking of ideas for the business he would start with Aaron.

The fact that Aaron seemed unsure when Robert proposed the idea didn’t throw him off; he knew that the benefits would make it worth it. They could be together more often with no distractions or interruptions. Even better no one would suspect anything because it would simply look like two business partners getting together to talk business. Imagining all their possible ‘meetings’ filled Robert with anticipation and excitement.

He thought about a possible garage, a taxi business, or even a mechanical consultant just something car related since it was how they kind of started but also he knew based on all the magazines in his rooms that Aaron loved cars. Robert had a decent amount of connections to find some clients and he was sure Aaron could find some blokes to do cheap labor. ‘It’s perfect, and then once I’ve gotten him out of my system and we leave this godforsaken village I will sell my shares to avoid anything connecting us.’

Robert ignored the churning feeling that he got at the thought of leaving Aaron and cutting all ties to the younger man. He was in such a good mood that he took Peritas with him to the village –without his vest of course- and even got a coffee fortunately no one told him anything about his German Shepard shadow. He saw Aaron head out with running clothes and decided to follow him to finalize everything and hopefully get in a good snog for it.

He tried to keep up with the younger man but he was fast and Robert wasn’t really wearing running shoes. Robert even lost sight of Aaron when he bend down to try and catch his breath for a moment “I need to work out more” Peritas looked at him as if to agree “oh shut up, what would you know?” he argue with the dog “I mean his lot are trained to work with the police and even go to war so I say he knows more than you.” The words came from behind him making him jump since he hadn’t heard anyone walking over.

Aaron smirked as Robert jumped “what the…? How did you…?” Robert turned around and looked from Aaron to the trail behind him, he was both confused and impress by the man walking around without Robert noticing. “If you’re following someone you might want to be a little sneakier and also be in better shape…” Aaron teased with a smirk on his face; Robert was still trying to process how Aaron came up behind him. “…Also the heavy breathing gave you away.” At this the older man rolled his eyes “I guess we can’t all be professional creepers and highly trained stalkers.”

Aaron smiled and Robert noticed that he didn’t deny the claim that he was a professional creeper or highly trained stalker, that should worry him but it didn’t. ‘Maybe I really am the messed up one’ “Why are you following me?” Aaron had noticed Robert following him from the very beginning, he let the man think that he simply heard him when the truth was that being in the business he was there are certain skills that become essential and that he needed to master to survive.

One of them is to recognize possible dangers at every turn and to expertly cover his tracks when dealing with it. While Robert wasn’t really dangerous, the man was following him and Aaron had developed and sixth sense that tells him when someone was following him. It helps him avoid getting caught at anything he does, in his business or personal life. “I’m not following you, I just thought we could talk business but you ran off before I could stop you.”

“There is no business to talk about.”

“Oh come on, I thought it could be something car related and you could continue being a dirty little grease monkey…” Robert’s tone at the last words made Aaron shiver, he felt his dick get half hard just at the thought of Robert calling him ‘his’ dirty little grease monkey while the older man fucks him.

“You’re not supposed to do business with your…people you…”

“What?” Robert egged him on almost as if daring Aaron to say the words they both knew he wanted to say “…it could get it the way.”

“It won’t…don’t get cold feet, you’ll make me think I really did fall for a quitter.”

It was the second time Robert said those words to him but much like before the words were said so smoothly that it took a while for Aaron to process them, like last time they filled him with a joy he never felt before; it was so clean and light. It was contrary to all the other emotions he had felt in his life, it wasn’t thick and heavy like everything else, even his feeling for Robert sometimes felt like a heavy weight ‘although compare to everything else I’ve felt, it’s the best kind of heavy.’ The smile on Aaron’s face had a mind of his own and he was sure that he looked like a school boy whose crush had just told him they liked him back.

Robert had admitted his feeling for him again but this time lust wasn’t at play, they weren’t in the throes of passion. He was confident that Robert felt the same way but to actually hear it at a time when the man doesn’t just want to cum, is a new level of confidence and high. “Not a quitter just not interested in making more work for myself” Aaron knew he had to say something before Robert realized what he had just revealed and closed off.

“What do you mean?”

“I already run the family business, I don’t need more work.”

“You mean stealing cars? That’s not really a business…” Robert had heard rumors about Charity and her schemes.

“No you prat, I’m talking about an actual business. It’s a contracting company that my family started…”

Aaron proceeded to tell Robert about the ‘legal’ family business that everyone knew about which was a contracting firm that mainly focused of different construction projects around the north but that also expanded into smaller branch like a transport company and a scrapyard. One is used to transport merchandise both legal and illegal while the other is a cover for ‘meetings’ that might require privacy and sound barrier but Aaron didn’t tell Robert that.

“Holey scraps! That’s what you –a so call successful businessman- decided to name your business?” Robert exclaimed looking appalled “it was Adam’s idea and since he was going to manage the day to day I figure he could name it.” Aaron shrugged as if it meant nothing that Adam chose a horrible name for his business, despite his protest Robert was actually impress.

“Look at you; here I thought you were a simple creeper but turns out you’re a proper CEO…” Robert looked at Aaron with an impress smirk “…still a creeper but a successful one.”

“How do you know I’m successful, I could be really bad…”

“Are you?”

“No, all my businesses are successful.”

“Well in that case how about I judge that, take me to this horribly name but successful business.”

Robert stepped forward until they were a breath away; Aaron simply raised an eyebrow trying not to lose the game of who breaks first. It turns out that neither of them lost as Peritas intervened with a loud bark. ‘I swear that dog is cock-blocking us on purpose…’ Aaron wanted to glare until a few minutes after they pulled away someone came in to view running in the path ‘…or not.’ The dog seemed so proud of himself especially when Robert petted him “good boy.”

‘You shouldn’t be so proud of helping him stay in the closet.’

Instead of saying what he wanted to say out loud Aaron led Robert away from the village and a little pass the family’s farm where he had the scrapyard. The sight wasn’t really impressive but it was a scrapyard so it looked like a junkyard of metal. A loud barking made him remember about Scrappy, the dog that they had found wandering around and kept as security. The dog was bomb proof except for his dislike of strangers and mostly everyone except Aaron and Adam –they guessed that he was probably abused- and his animosity for other dogs which had never been a problem before.

Aaron turned to look at Peritas by Robert’s side whose ears had perked up at the sound ‘until now.’ He could see as the dog got closer to Robert and it wasn’t out of fear, the raised tail and slight hackles told him that the German Shepard was ready to protect his human. He really didn’t want a dog fight because Robert would never forgive him if Peritas got hurt but he couldn’t tie or lock Scrappy up, it wouldn’t be fair since this was the dog’s territory, his safe haven.

“That was Scrappy; he’s kind of like security around here.”

“Sounds like he takes his job very serious”

As they walked up to the gate a massive Rottweiler was waiting for them barking loudly, his hackles calmed down as he saw Aaron but returned as he saw Peritas. The German Shepard to his credit kept calm in the face of Scrappy’s provocation just stayed firmly by Robert’s side. “This might have been a bad idea…” as Scrappy got more agitated, hitting the gate, the men though that it was better they turned back.

Aaron was wondering if there was another office that he could show Robert where they could have a moment. Then Peritas suddenly sat down and turned his back to Scrappy as if to say you’re not worth my time ‘that is definitely Robert’s dog.’ The arrogance and confidence was so much like the blond human that Aaron couldn’t help but smile, the smirk on Robert’s face was an obvious sign of the man’s pride ‘like a proud father.’

They realized Peritas’ behavior was much more than that when Scrappy had stop barking and simply looked confuse. They forgot that Peritas was a service dog, he was probably trained to deal with all sort of situations and stimuli (AN: Not exactly sure if this is what they train service dogs to do when faced with an aggressive dog, I’ve seen a documentary so I do know that they train them for all sorts of scenarios, didn’t mention this situation...) Scrappy was confused by the calm and lack of fear or returned aggression; to him this dog was not behaving like a dog.

“You show him Peritas, we don’t have to be Neanderthals solving everything with violence. He’s definitely your dog, I see the resemblance.”

Robert teased Aaron with a smirk, petting Peritas as he praised him for remaining so calm. Aaron rolled his eyes but decided to try and test the waters, walking forward and at first Scrappy barked but then just resorted to pacing when that didn’t get a reaction out of Peritas. Apparently fighting is no fun when the other party wasn’t interested, Aaron held Scrappy as he opened the gate to stop him from going at the other dog.

“Scrappy, No!”

The Rottweiler whined until he smelled something off from the tall new human, there was a bitter scent on him almost like a sick pup. Aaron watched at the dog stared at Robert almost curiously, like he was trying to figure something out. Peritas got in front of the tall man, sitting between his legs in a protective gesture. The two dogs had a stare down almost silently communicating until Scrappy walked over at a more sedated pace with Aaron still holding him.

And to their surprise ignored Peritas and instead sniffed Robert before doing a sneeze “oh mate, looks like you stink.” Aaron smirked while Robert rolled his eyes “or maybe just like his owner, your mutt doesn’t know what actual cologne is.” The two let out a sigh of relief when Scrappy sniffed Peritas but didn’t attack him, it probably had to do with the fact the Peritas didn’t seem to give him the time of day.

Peritas was older than Scrappy who was still a puppy so it could be that the German Shepard was far more mature than the puppy that always wanted a fight. That energy instead of getting Scrappy going actually seemed to calm him down although neither of them held hope that the dogs would be best friends, in fact they were both aware the dogs merely tolerated each other for the time being. “So this is your Scrapyard, aren’t you going to give me the grand tour?” Instead of taking Robert around Aaron led him to a port-a-cabin in the center.

“I have a better idea…”

“Oh yea and what would that be?”

“No one will hear or bother us here.”

“In that case, I can think of a few other things you can show me…”

The two dogs ignored the loud moans and the banging that followed, Peritas sat by the steps as always close to his human in case he needed him and Scrappy walked around making sure to not take his eyes of the new dog. Both dogs were completely unbothered by the loud sounds of humans mating even when the cabin itself shook slightly. Inside Robert and Aaron reached a new dangerous point of no return in their relationship and they were completely unaware of it, too lost in each other and their pleasure.

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Day before the wedding

Emotions were high as the final preparation for Chrissie and Robert’s wedding were finished, Robert was staying with his sister and her boyfriend to keep the tradition of the bride and groom not seeing themselves the day before the wedding. Robert got to officially spend time with his sister’s boyfriend, Adam was also Aaron’s best friend but he was the complete opposite to the grumpy man. He was bright and happy at all times, Robert found him annoying although he could see that the man adored his sister so he tolerated him.

He also noticed that Aaron didn’t tell Adam about their affair since the man never brought it up and Adam was clearly not good at keeping secrets or keeping his mouth shut. Victoria was over the moon “you would think you were the one getting married.” Robert saw Adam smile brightly while Victoria blush ‘definitely going to give him a hard time when he proposes.’ His bachelor party consisted of drinks at the pub with his sister, her boyfriend and a grumpy Andy while Aaron glared from a corner.

‘Fantastic…’

Robert thought sarcastically as he felt uncomfortable; the younger man was not happy with him, the last few days he had been giving Robert the cold shoulder. Aaron got angry at him for not canceling the wedding “it’s clear that you don’t want her! Why do it!?” It was becoming harder and harder for Robert to fight the pull and remain firm, so instead Robert also avoided him. But it wasn’t easy because all he wanted to do was kiss the man or even just talk to him. Aaron had been the closes thing to a best friend that Robert has had ‘at least one that could talk back’ he looked down at Peritas with a smile.

Robert had not realized how much he enjoyed the younger man’s presence for more than just sex. He found himself looking for the younger man where ever he went; it calmed him down just to see Aaron even if he was glaring back. It was pathetic but he couldn’t stop himself but any time he thought about being with the man he could hear his father’s voice berate him. So if Robert got drunk trying to ignore the ache then no one needed to know. ‘I’m doing the right thing! I’m already enough of a freak, don’t need to add more to the long list.’

“I knew from the beginning that you were not normal…not only a disappointment but now an embarrassment to the Sugden name.”

His father’s harsh words that night were as loud and painful as the belt that hit his back, that night Robert hated himself so much that he found himself wishing that his father’s hand would slip and the man would hit something vital, ending Robert’s misery. Even worse yet that night was the start of his nightmares to this day ‘you definitely left a lasting mark, dad. Not including the physical ones.’ A few days after his dad disciplined him for ‘skivvying’ Robert got his first full depressive episode, before it had been just bouts of slight sadness.

‘You just have to be involve in every one of the worst moments in my life, didn’t you dad.’

Fortunately he kept some sense of self-preservation while drunk because he didn’t reveal anything that could bite him in the arse which was good since some times during the night Katie had join them. Robert was sure that it was Victoria’s sneaky way of trying to get them all to ‘get along’ together. The woman had been keeping her distance since her trailer burned down a few days ago, something she blamed Robert for ‘of course she would, was anyone really surprise.’

The woman screamed at the top of her lungs to anyone that would listen that it was Robert’s doing; she even told the constables. “It was him! He threatened me and told me that I would regret it!” The constable had begun investigating but suddenly stopped saying that Robert had an alibi something that surprised even the man in question. He didn’t have an alibi because he had burned the trailer down, it was a warning to Katie as the woman continued to follow him where ever he went making it impossible to meet with Aaron. Robert admits that he hadn’t thought things through.

“You have to be more careful, mate.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m always careful.”

“Are you? So the car tracks on the scene and the gas tank a few miles away from the place wouldn’t have your fingerprints on it. You do know that they can match the tire tracks to a car now in days.” (Author Notes: I know that Robert was better and smarter than that, after all he never got caught or punished for any of his crimes but there is a reason I wrote it that way.)

Robert had panicked remembering that he hadn’t used gloves or even bothered to park the car too far away. He just wanted Katie to mind her own business; the woman wasn’t smart enough to actually catch him or proof anything. “You’re lucky I know some people…” He had been shocked and moved by Aaron’s gesture so he grabbed him by the younger man’s oversized hoodie and snogged him until he was breathless. At the time he didn’t think about the fact that they stood in the street by the pub so anyone could have walked over and see them.

“Thank you”

Either way, his warning was received and Katie just glared at him from a distance, the glare was even worse when he was able to get the town to see her as a delusional woman that was still not over the man she cheated on her husband with. It made her lose all credibility; Chrissie stopped talking to her as Katie became a threat instead of a friend. The rest of the village either pitied her or advised her to let go of her obsession before she lost her husband.

“Don’t you see what he’s doing!? He wants you all to believe that I’m crazy! It just proves that I’m right!”

Robert spread the rumor that Katie was unable to have children and it was causing some tensions in their marriage making her irritable and unbalanced. He knew that if there was one thing that the people of Emmerdale loved was a good rumor, didn’t matter if it was true. “Oh that poor girl, it can’t be easy. So young to get such horrible news…” Robert smirked at each and every whisper “Yea but she shouldn’t take it out on other people. To try and ruin some else’s relationship like that…”

Just like that the tables were turned and Robert was merely a victim to Katie’s madness. He watched as Katie was alienated and it made him smirk because that meant that for once he wasn’t the village freak. Robert knew from a very young age that the only way for him to fit in and be normal was for someone else to take his place as the village freak. If everyone was miserable than they would all be the same and Robert would finally fit in.

Not everyone was falling in line though, Andy immediately blamed Robert for Katie’s obsession “Your mere presence is a dark cloud that infects and suffocates everything around you!” Robert won’t lie at least not to himself, the words hurt mainly because his father had told him something similar when kicking him out. “You destroy everything you touch…” unlike with his father, Robert didn’t give Andy the power to see how the words had affected him.

‘Everything is working out, now if only Aaron would stop being so sensitive.’


Aaron was worried about Robert, it was another new feeling for him but recently the man had been getting reckless. The first thing he learned about Robert was that the man was an absolutely brilliant strategist, in fact he was sure that the man’s scheme would be an asset to the business if he wasn’t so against Robert being involve in that world. There was no denying that Robert was brilliant so the fact that he had been so careless when setting fire to the trailer was a red flag to Aaron.

He knew Robert was more discreet than that, the only crimes on the man’s records were the once committed while having an episode but Aaron wasn’t naïve to believe that those were the only ones he committed. The older man was no pure angel ‘maybe more like my dark angel,’ Aaron smirk at the thought. “Boss, just like you ask all evidence was wiped clean and replaced with the alibi” A police sergeant said vowing slightly to the younger man behind the desk, “and no one suspects anything?” Aaron wanted to make sure that nothing led back to Robert “the chief inspector was inform that this was a favor for the Dingle family and he made sure everything was air tight.”

That was one thing about the Dingle family name; it always got things moving no matter the person’s place on the hierarchy. There were a lot of people not from the family trying to use the name for their own benefits but they never lasted long, the family always made sure of that. “Good…” the sergeant let a sigh of relief “…why don’t you take the wife out for a trip on me.” The man’s eyes widened, it was a huge honor to get such a reward from the boss “I hear Portugal is nice this time of year.”

“Sir…that’s not necessary?”

“Are you saying you don’t want the trip?”

“I would be honored but I wasn’t the only one…”

“Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten them. Talk to my assistant outside and she would set it up, on me.”

The man left vowing reverently like Aaron was a King who had just given him a title and land, he send a message to his assistant so she can set the trip up as well as reward the chief inspector. Aaron rarely steps into his office, mainly because he leaves a lot of the legal business to his COO but it was a perfect excuse to stay away from the village. At first he was avoiding Robert after one of their fights but with the man’s recent behavior Aaron has been keeping an eye on him. Aaron had been reading up on bipolar disorder and he was sure that Robert had a manic episode when he burned Katie’s trailer down.

I need to see you

We need to talk

It’s important

Aaron…

Please, one last time

Fine but I’m not changing my mind. Where?

Aaron smirked as his plan fell into place, there was no way he was going to let Robert marry Chrissie but if he could kill more than one bird then he was going to take the shot. Aaron was many things but he wasn’t one to force a partner to do anything in a romantic relationship. While work was something different, when it comes to sex and romance Aaron was big on consent a lot due to his experience with the former but he just never found any pleasure in having to force someone to give you something so intimate. The only reason he was so stubborn and insistent with Robert was because he knows the man had already freely given him both.

Robert had not only consented to sex multiple times but had admitted his feelings for Aaron twice and even if he didn’t Aaron knew how he felt. He knew that the older man just had trouble accepting himself ‘I’m sure Jack Sugden has something to do with this.’ His goal isn’t really to force Robert out the closet but to give him time to see that they could be happy together, that Robert was allowed to be himself and be happy with it. He belongs with Aaron ‘and I’m not willing to let him go.’

“Is everything ready?”         

He called his contact to make sure that the place was ready for occupants or one occupant specifically. “The place is stock up and ready” Aaron smirked before hanging up, he texted Robert a location that might seem strange for the man but Aaron hopes that he’s too distracted to become suspicious. It was time that Aaron stopped sharing what was his and stake his claim loud and clear for all to know.


Robert knew that he shouldn’t, he knew it was wrong to go meet his lover on the eve of his wedding to someone else. The moon and the night animals around the village were the only witnesses as Robert took the shameless walk instead of a walk of shame although a small part of him felt guilty for what he was doing. Chrissie was many things but the woman had been faithful to their relationship and it was unfair that he hadn’t done the same.

Yet a larger part couldn’t help but be excited about the idea of having one last time with Aaron, the younger man had buried himself deep inside Robert and refused to leave. Robert had never been naïve ‘thanks dad’ and while he lies like he breaths even to himself, he will admit that his relationship with Aaron was completely different from his other affairs. Not only were they all a one-time thing but there was no feelings other than pleasure involve, like a business transaction.

‘And I’ve always been a good businessman.’

The night was cold but not as cold as it should be for February, still the cold and the darkness of the night was the reason why Robert let himself leave the house in sweatpants and a hoodie under his leather jacket. The man who cared about his appearance wouldn’t otherwise be caught dead like that ‘among the many lessons my dear father taught me was that how people saw me was very important.’

“You are a Sugden! You need to stop being a disappointment and act like it!”

He shook his head pushing his father to the back of his mind where he usually locks him away when he wanted to breathe without the pressure and expectations drowning him. His hair fell on his eyes before the wind blew it away making him shiver. ‘Aaron better make this worth it’ having been in a warm place like Barcelona for most of his time away made his body get used to the warmth and hate the cold.

Robert remembers being able to wear a sweater during the winters as he helped around the farm but now he feels like he needs a massive coat and it still wouldn’t be enough. “Barcelona has made me weak” Robert chuckled at his own self-deprecating joke, happy that he was alone and no one would look at him like he was losing it. ‘Like Katie’ that thought made him smirk, remembering how everyone was turning their backs on the woman although he noticed how most have been slowly forgiving her after one “I’m sorry.”

‘I’m the only one that needs to grovel, beg, humiliate myself and plead before being even considered for forgiveness.’

Again he couldn’t help but sneer at the unfairness of the situation, when Robert was a teen all he had to do was say something and he would practically have an angry mob behind him demanding that his father keep him in check. At least he was glad to be staying with Victoria, he felt safer leaving Peritas for a few hours knowing that at Vic’s no one would try to poison him. “Oh Robert, are you serious!? You really think my son would poison the mutt!? I know you’re not all there but don’t use my son to justify your own negligence!” The fact that Lachlan stood smirking the whole time behind his mother told Robert all he needed to know.

“You should’ve mind your own business and kept your mouth shut!”

“What and turn a blind eye to what you did?”

“I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!”

The wind howl as it grew in intensity; snapping Robert out of his thoughts, he had been so lost that he had not notice that someone was following him. Instead he was distracted by Peritas strange behavior in the last few days. The dog seemed anxious, following him where ever he went and whining every once in a while. Even as he was leaving the dog whined when Robert ordered him to stay, nothing served to break his heart and make him feel like a monster like his dog looking at him with big sad eyes.

He always felt like he let the German Shepard down in some way but he knew that for this meeting with Aaron he wouldn’t need Peritas. Staring at the structure in front of him filled Robert with nostalgia; he almost saw a blonde woman hanging clothes with a baby girl sleeping in a basket as he ran over and hid in her skirt. He remembers his father trying to look angry at Robert for release the critters from the traps Jack was using to catch them while his mother smiled.

“Hard to believe there was a time he seemed to like me, a time we were happy.”

Those times were over quickly as his father and his mother’s relationship deteriorated and with it so did their family and his father’s love for him. It was also the place where he felt closest to his birth mother for some reason and it had broken him to lose that but after that day when he was fifteen it had never been the same. Robert wondered why Aaron wanted to meet here, it was deserted but it was never a place they ever met in. He was just happy that Andy and Katie were staying with Diane and wouldn’t show up.

“Aaron!”

He called for the man as he entered the house, feeling the nostalgia get heavier as he walked through the living room where he would play with Andy when they were still friends, the kitchen where his mother first started to teach him to cook. “Robert, everyone loves someone that can cook for them” he remembers the time they baked chocolate chips cookies because he had been obsessed after seeing them in an American show on the telly, he also remembers that he burned his hand in excitement when he pulled them out the oven with no protection.

“Oh Robert, you have to remember like many things in life, cooking requires protective gear…I’ll tell you a secret, everyone who has ever cooked has gotten burn.”

Robert remembers crying due to the waste of cookies but his mother just smiled, she picked up one of the cookies and bit a piece “umm, still delicious. I won’t say anything if you don’t, it would be our little secret.” They sat in the floor with milk and ate all the cookies like they had stolen them, the cookies had honestly been the best cookies he’s ever had even though logically there was nothing especial about them.

He was sure that was when his sweet tooth started until his gran told him later on that he had actually gotten it from his birth mother who only wanted sweet things when pregnant with him. “She was a menace when it came to anything sweet.” A notification from his phone snapped him out of his trip down memory lane; it was Aaron asking him where he was. He walked up the rickety stairs; he had never been so lost in the past before.

‘Being back in Emmerdale is really screwing with me.’

(Author Note: I’m taking a few liberties with location because in the show they didn’t really explain much about it but I also felt that this would be a great opportunity to give Robert a more in depth past.)

He walked into what had been his room and more memories assaulted him, one in particular hit him like bricks raining from the sky. The familiar screams of a boy echo the room as he apologized and promised not to do it again. “From now on you behave, no more of...that” they both knew what ‘that’  was and as the man left his crying and bleeding child in the room, the young boy lock the ache away inside him and swore never to let it out again.

‘A conviction Aaron is slowly weakening…’


Robert rushed out the room away from the screams that turn into sobs and the sound of leather hitting skin, he continued walking until he went into what once was Vic’s room; fortunately Aaron was standing by the window waiting for him. “So this is new, you got bored of the barn?” Robert tried to regain his composure which was hanging by a thread “don’t get marry.” Robert sigh as Aaron stared at him with his bright blue eyes that were filled with so much emotion that Robert almost gave in but Aaron made the mistake of bringing him to the one place that refreshed his shields by reminding him of the past.

“Aaron come on…” he wasn’t sure what he was meant to say “I thought I would be able to let you go but I can’t…” Aaron didn’t bother looking sorry or ashamed of getting too serious like they promised they wouldn’t.

“I’m sorry…”

“That you’re too terrified of being yourself” the words hit a nerve that turn on Robert’s defensive mechanism which was always to hit back where it hurt most.

“No, I’m sorry that you can’t accept reality and created your own delusional story.”

“Oh please, we both know that the one that can’t accept reality is you. You think someone that’s not gay or bi sleeps with men multiple times and enjoys it the way you do?”

“…”

“Face it Robert, you’re only using Chrissie as a door to the closet you refuse to leave.”

Robert was pissed as he felt like he was being pushed into a corner, the old wounds on his back felt fresh and burned as if they were just made. He wanted Aaron to stop, to shut up and just go away like all the others “why do you have to make this so difficult.” The soft emotional tone in Robert’s voice made Aaron walk over to the taller touching his face. “I can’t help it, you make me selfish” the cheekiness in the younger man’s eyes made Robert roll his eyes.

“I love he…”

“No!” The loud exclamation made Robert flinched in surprise “you don’t, we both know you don’t and the fact that you use those words so lightly for others but not for the ones you really mean it with, pisses me off!”

Robert stepped back slightly; he had never seen Aaron that way and while he still wasn’t scare of the younger man, for the first time he was starting to believe that there was a more dangerous side to Aaron. The man must have noticed and misinterpret his reactions “I would never hurt you, I’m just frustrated. You don’t need to be afraid.” Robert raised an eyebrow “how many times do I need to tell you; you’re not scary, it’s not your thing, let it go.”

They both smiled and the atmosphere felt almost lighter, like it always usually is when they’re together. The easy and natural banter, their own warm and sometimes heated flirting, and the completely open expressions was what made their relationship so perfect and right for them. It was so easy to forget or ignore everything with Aaron but “I can’t…” Robert couldn’t let himself do it.

“Yes you can, don’t you see I’ve already chosen us…”

Aaron touched his face tenderly; his blue eyes were filled with so much passion and emotion. Robert had no idea how rare that was for the otherwise cold and harsh younger man. He looked at Robert like the man was his sun and air “why are you so insistent…?” the fight had almost completely left Robert; his voice was filled with emotion as he almost beg Aaron to let him go.

“Because I love you”

Robert’s eye widened at the confession; he was speechless, he wasn’t use to that so his mouth opened and closed trying to form a response. It felt like it was the first time he had heard those words dedicated to him although he knows that wasn’t true. ‘The look is new…’ Aaron’s eyes were bright filled with so much passion and what he now knew was love ‘…I’ve never gotten that look before.’

The look had never been in the eyes of the people that said those words to him, a look that said that he was wanted and needed more than air to breath or water to drink. It was a look of devotion, protection, possession, of someone willing to kill for him and that terrified Robert mainly because he didn’t think those feelings were unrequited. Aaron walked over and took advantage of Robert’s distraction snogging him with the passion of a man not holding back.

The kiss felt different than all the others and Robert responded in full, he never thought it was possible for it to get more intense but it did. Just when he was getting into it with his hands grabbing Aaron’s hoodie like he was a security blanket, he heard a click and saw a flash. He felt a chill run through him that had nothing to do with the cold as he turned to see a smirking Katie taking a picture with her phone.

“I knew it! I knew you hadn’t changed, although…” she turned to Aaron before looking back at Robert with a smirk “…then again maybe you have.”

“Katie, what…?”

“You are such a hypocrite, turns out that you got bored of women and decided to try men…” Aaron saw how Robert flinched violently as the woman hit a nerve.

“Katie, give me the phone.”

“No, I’ll tell everyone. Can you image what Diane and Vic would think, what Andy will say…”

“Give me the phone!”

“…Poor Chrissie, she trusted you and defended you in front of everyone. She would be so humiliated and devastated…”

“GIVE ME THE PHONE!”

The scream made the woman flinch but enough to back down “you had the audacity of calling me the village bike when you’re the village poof…”

Aaron could see the moment Robert pulled back and shut down as if those were the magic words to extinguish the fire inside his beautiful blond. He was shock when the man began shaking instead of snapping “nonononono…” he hit his head with shaking hands “…I’m not, I’m not…” Katie smirked at seeing that for once she was the one affecting the great Robert Sugden “but you are, you were snogging a man Robert that makes you a great. big. hypocritical. poof!”

Each word was received like a physical blow as Robert flinched away, what they didn’t know was that Robert wasn’t seeing Katie but his father with his belt. Aaron was worry that Robert would start hyperventilating “no I’m not, you don’t know anything!” Robert snapped but Aaron could see that it wasn’t with the same fire that he had grown to love, it was more desperate and lack confidence.

“Who are you lying to? I have the proof to show everyone, so they can see you for what you truly are.”

Unaware to the two arguing blondes Aaron had walked over to the door, close to Katie “what do you want? Money? A declaration? An apology!? Remember you were the one that meddled in MY life and wouldn’t leave me alone.” Robert was trying to build his walls back up and regain control of himself and the situation. Katie smirked, enjoying the fact that she had Robert by the balls and it was exhilarating. She actually thought about the offer, she could ask Robert for whatever she wanted and the desperate man would give it to her.

“You think you can offer me what I want?”

“Tell me what it is and it’s yours as long as you delete that picture.”

Her eyes traveled down the man’s body staying a little too long on the sweatpants, both Robert and Aaron noticed the woman’s stare and appreciation. One smirked while the other glared, using his mind and body to get what he wanted and needed was something that Robert understood. ‘Now that is simple, that I can do’ he briefly remembers his time in London before he shook his head and smirk giving Katie a look that he knows has never failed in getting him laid.


“I don’t think so…”

The cold hard words made the two blondes flinched; they had both forgotten Aaron was still in the room. “Aaron don’t worry, I know you’re just a victim to Robert’s scheme and manipulation…” Katie tried to smile before looking disappointed, she had misinterpreted the situation and perhaps that was her downfall “…Although I’m ashamed that you would fall so lo…” She was cut off by icy hard eyes glaring at her “you’re no longer useful to me.”

“What are you talking about?”

The hand moved like a blurred and grabbed her throat pulling her off the floor and taking her breath away “Aaron…” The younger man simply smiled and Katie somehow knew in that moment that she had underestimated the younger man, Robert wasn’t the dangerous one is the relationship instead the blond man was the dog to Aaron’s wolf. She scratched at the hand trying to get the man to release her “Aaron...please” it was becoming harder and harder to breath. “Marks…” Aaron and Katie both turned to a frozen Robert, the man seemed to be speechless starring at Aaron’s hand around Katie’s neck.

The woman thought that the man would safe her but Aaron knew better he saw a corner of the room where the floors seemed like they were held by gum and saliva. “You’re right Rob, can’t have anyone find marks when they find her.” Katie’s eyes widened and she started to fight again with the desperation of someone who didn’t want to die. She turned to Robert and pleaded with tears in her eyes “Ple…Please…Safe…” that was her mistake because it ignited the possessiveness inside of Aaron and pissed him off.

“I’m the one holding your life in my hands yet you still can’t let him go…” Aaron walked dragging Katie by her hair as she tried to struggle. Robert saw that she dropped her phone and stared at Katie being drag and the phone, he knew that he should stop Aaron but the phone had the evidence that could ruin his life. He was weak “Baby you have such a big heart…” and he could hear his mother telling him how that was a good thing but “and It’s going to get him used and burn then thrown away…”

Robert couldn’t figure out why he focused on his father’s blows instead on his mother’s caress “…because you know she loved you, her love was never in question but his was. As humans we are taught to work for what we don’t have not what is given freely.” He was pretty sure it also had to do with the fact that his father was his flesh and blood ‘he should love me, he was supposed to…’ Robert shook his head waving away his physiotherapist’s words and his own daddy issues.

Instead Robert reached for the phone once again letting his father win; everything else was muffled as things started to speed up around him as if he was inside a moving car watching out. It was a very familiar feeling that if he had been more balanced Robert would’ve known what it meant and prepared for what was to come. Katie continued to scream and pleaded as she continued to struggle, her neck was red from Aaron’s hands.

She saw that Robert seemed to be almost in a trace, moving his head around as if he was following a fly around his head “Robert! Robert! Robert, stop him! Please I know you care about Vic and Andy. What would they think…?” but Aaron didn’t stop until “Aaron, stop…” the man called softly and like magic the younger man stopped dragging her and turned back to Robert. Katie sobbed in relief, even falling into Robert’s arms as he helped her up.

“What’s the passcode?”

Robert showed her the phone screen ignoring her thanks “what…?” but Robert refused to give in, like a dog with a bone. “I need the passcode…” She couldn’t believe that Robert was so calm after watching Aaron almost kill her, she even flinched as she saw the man stand to the side, arms cross waiting for her probably do what Robert asked.

“Oh I see, so he’s you’re attack dog, the one that does your dirty work for you?” Robert rolled his eyes “Aaron is not going to kill you, he just has a temper and you’re annoying.” She realized that she didn’t have a choice so she told Robert her passcode and watched as the man turn away most likely deleting the photos.

“That was you’re mistake…”She turned to Aaron who was staring at Robert’s back “what…?” she was confused and cautious around the unhinged man.

“…when you wonder why…” those cold eyes turned back to her and Katie got a bad feeling, she turned side eyed to Robert wanting the man to turn back around.

“Aaron, Chas would never forgive you…”

“And you think I care, compare to what she let happen to me...this is nothing besides she should’ve kept a tighter leash on you…” there was no feeling is those eyes and in that moment Katie realized that she was in front of a truly sick man, for a brief moment she was worried for Robert and the fact that Aaron seemed to have imprinted on him like a lost duckling. The man stepped in front of her blocking her view of the tall blond “from the moment you followed Robert and stepped in here, it was set in stone.”

“Aaron…”

“Don’t you see, you were never getting out of here alive.”

Before she could react or scream the man pushed her with so much force she knew it was going to hurt as she would hit the floor but then she felt the floor crack under her feet and her eyes widened. Aaron smirked at her and she screamed as she fell through the rotten floor, her screams made Robert turn. The man saw a hole in the floor and Katie missing, his eyes widened turning to Aaron.

“What have you done!?” the man just shrugged his shoulders as if he hadn’t just killed someone.

“She was getting annoying.”


It felt like hours passed since the trio was cut down to two, Robert was still trying to process the situation while Aaron seemed to be completely at ease. “Should we continue where we left off before we were rudely interrupted?” Robert for the first time looked away from Katie’s most likely dead body “are you crazy!? You just killed a woman and you’re acting like nothing happened.” It was clear that Robert had finally processed the situation “what? You expect me to mourn her and hold a vigil?”

Robert was flabbergasted by Aaron’s careless attitude, it’s not that he was a fan of Katie or that he was mourning her but he just knew the possible consequences and that worried him. “Aaron, can’t you see what this means? What could happen? What would happen?” Robert paced back and forth slightly panicking but trying to think while Aaron rolled his eyes and texted someone on his phone. Suddenly Robert threw Katie’s phone down with her so that it would seem like it fell with the woman “you have to leave.” Aaron was surprised by the demand from the suddenly calm blond.

“What are you talking about?”

“Aaron! Listen to me if you don’t want to end up in jail, you need to leave now. I’ll call the constables and tell them that it was an accident...”

“And how are you going to explain why you are here at this time?”

“I will tell them that we met earlier because we were working on a surprise for Andy, since I was going to give them the house. I left first but when no one saw her for the rest of the day I worried and went looking for her and found her like this.”

“What if they don’t believe you and blame you?”

“If that happens I’ll get less time than a thug like you with most likely a few strikes but don’t worry if there is one thing I know how to do it’s getting myself out of sticky situations.”

Aaron just stared at the smirking man that refused to accept his feelings for him but just offered to basically take the fault for Aaron’s crime. The man didn’t even know that Aaron wouldn’t have been arrested; hell he could’ve probably killed the woman in day light and still not get arrested. The gesture was a bigger ‘I love you’ than the actual words and it meant more than them because this proved the man’s loyalty and devotion even if he refuses to make it official.

Aaron couldn’t control his reaction; he pulled Robert to him and crashed their lips together in a violent kissed that spoke of an all-consuming fire. There was no going back for them, as Robert kissed him back Aaron realized how foolish and naïve it was of him to believe that there would ever be a time when he doesn’t want this man. He will kill Chrissie, the Whites and burn down the whole village if he had to but he was keeping Robert.

“Aaron! You have to go…” Robert pulled back trying to get his breathing in control as he tried to push the man that he just wanted to pull closer and rip his clothes off.

“I have a better idea.”

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Somehow in a matter of minutes Aaron got a constable there to clear the scene and take their statement, he noticed that when the constable arrived he walked over to Aaron and whispered lowly. That wasn’t strange since Aaron was the one to call, what was strange was the officer’s posture, it was submissive and passive as if Aaron wasn’t a suspect to a possible murder. Aaron looked completely at ease; there was even a boredom in his eyes ‘who are you?’

Everyone in the village had always told him that the Dingles especially Aaron were nothing but thugs “…most of them have been in jail and if they hadn’t they will be at some point…” for the first time Robert questioned if it was much more than that. The constable then walked over to him to take his statement under watchful icy blue eyes. Robert almost felt for the man that was clearly nervous under that stare like an employee being shadowed by the boss.

The constable to his credit maintained his composure and professionalism which Robert was sure was just to fool him. It was like it was all a play just for Robert, he was the only one that needed to believe and immerse himself in the lie. Unfortunately for them Robert was a pessimist, he was one of those viewers that questioned everything and looked for the strings behind the curtains.

Either way as promised Robert told the constable the story he told Aaron he was going to says, the constable questioned his alibi ‘just like Aaron said he would…’ Robert felt like he was being tested in some way, but he ignored that to focus on keeping his cool despite the fuzzy feeling getting stronger. He kept firm to his word even when the constable seemed to push him to confess until the coroners came over and the officer took his word.

Robert didn’t miss the second that the constable subtly turned to Aaron as if looking for his approval. “Are we free to go?” Aaron asked his voice still held the same boredom as before, Robert knows that Katie wasn’t really close to the younger man so he doesn’t expect Aaron to be emotional but there is no remorse, regret or even second thought about killing the woman. “Of course, we will take care of things from here.”

Aaron led Robert away before the man could even respond to the constable, a van pulled up as Aaron led Robert to his car. Robert was able to read Coroners on the side before he was ushered into the passenger seat. He watched as the constable spoke with two people that walked out of the van with a stretcher and a black bag. “I have to let the family know…” the words were soft and slightly disoriented “don’t worry about it.”

“What do you mean don’t worry!? I have to tell them…Where are you taking me?”

Robert looked around and saw that they were going away from the village but also the opposite direction of Hotten so they weren’t going to the younger man’s apartment in the city. “You need to breath and calm down so we can get our story straight” Aaron said without taking his eyes of the road. “That didn’t really answer my question” despite his words Robert didn’t really push or demanded answers instead he just watched the trees’ outlines passed by. The car was filled with silence for what felt like hours but was only seconds “you are more than just a business man aren’t you?” Robert saw as Aaron stiffened and that was all he needed, he suddenly understood what Aaron meant about being dangerous “people have died for less” ‘he really wasn’t joking…’

They turned into a path surrounded by trees that he couldn’t really see, for a moment he was worried that Aaron was really going to kill him until he saw the cabin nestled in the trees. “What is this place?” instead of answering Aaron walked over and opened the door for Robert to go in “A place I rented so we could have some privacy, getting tired of corners and barns.”

“And you think this is better?”

Robert looked around the small cabin with distaste; the main room was basically just a sofa by the wall, a table by a column and a tiny kitchen in the corner. Compare to the younger man’s flat, the cabin was a whole flight of stairs down although it was one step up from the port-a-cabin in the scrapyard. Robert could see an entrance to a hall where he guessed the bedroom and bathroom were “well it has a roof, plumbing, a bed and no rats so I say it is.” Aaron snarked back at Robert rolling his eyes

“Is there a bathtub in the bathroom?”

“I could leave the heating off if you prefer…?” That seemed to shut Robert up although he pouted his displeasure which Aaron just shook his head at, affectionately exasperated.

“So who are you really?”

“What are you on about now?”

“Do you really think I didn’t notice the copper looking at you like you were his boss, come on Aaron give me more credit than that.”

Aaron seemed to freeze up, his back to Robert “there is food in the fridge and cupboards, I even got the sweets you like…” He changed the subject as if he hadn’t heard what Robert just said or as if the subject was settled and he was moving on. “What…?” Robert was so confused and frustrated “…I don’t care about food! I want you to tell me who you really are, I think the man you claimed to love deserves at least that.”

The words seemed to trigger Aaron who turned around so fast Robert was sure he heard his neck crack “claimed? You think I was lying?” Aaron’s face was devoid of emotions but his eyes were icy “well what am I supposed to think when in the last few hours I’m realizing that I don’t really know you!” Robert snapped his voiced filled with anger and hurt as he felt betray by Aaron’s deception when Robert has shared thing about himself that no one knew.

“Actually, you’re the only one in the world that really knows me.”

The confession took Robert by surprise while the soft tone deflated any remaining anger he held inside. “If that’s true, then tell me the thing that everyone but me knows…who are you?” Aaron knew that the man was right; the one thing that he hadn’t told Robert was the one thing that wasn’t much of a secret. Aaron remembered earlier how Robert was willing to take the fall for his crime, the man might not have said those words but he continued to show them with his every action.

“When people say that my family are thugs, they’re not lying…We’re just a little more organized than that.”

“You’re telling me that the Dingles are actually a gang? What you go around stealing and beating people up for their lunch money?”

“Something like that” Aaron smirked at Robert’s idea of what they did; he didn’t think that Robert was ready to know the extent of the Dingles and especially Aaron’s power.

“What about the family business you talked about? Were you putting me on or is that your cover?”

“That is completely real and legal but it those offer a great cover.”

“Why have both? You already have success and money legally why risk it?”

Aaron loved that he saw actual worry in Robert’s eyes, it made that warm feeling that only the man could invoke in Aaron get stronger. He knew now that the feeling was love, Aaron loved this man in a way and with an intensity that he wasn’t sure he felt for Jackson or anyone. Aaron got on his knees between Robert’s long legs as the man sat on the sofa, his grey/blue eyes –which after searching he learn the name for the shade closest it was Aegean blue- and stared at Robert with the same love he saw hidden within the man’s eyes.

Aaron saw as those eyes darken slightly with the dirty thoughts that the blond was no doubt having from seeing Aaron on his knees in front of him. “Its second nature, our family has been doing this for years…” Aaron assured “…besides we’re good at keeping it all clean. So you don’t have to worry” Robert rolled his eyes “I’m not worried” Aaron could see that he was clearly lying and it made him smile.

“Aren’t you?”

“No, I’m just not willing to lie again to cover your arse when you get caught.”

Aaron leaned up placing soft kisses on Robert slightly pouting lips smoothing them out “but you did so well…” each word was peppered with a kiss that had Robert leaning forward when Aaron pulled back “…we make such a good team.” Robert grabbed the younger man’s head to stop him from moving away and teasing him with soft kisses “maybe but I’m not a criminal.” This time it was Robert doing the teasing as he lean forward and whispered as their noses touched. He won’t admit that a part of him felt exhilarated for getting away with what happened and the idea of working with Aaron, seeing the other side of him was both intriguing yet frightening.

“You’re a businessman, isn’t that the same thing.”

Aaron teased but only because he knew Robert would say no, the man wasn’t a criminal at least not at his level. Robert doesn’t belong in that world, he’s a schoolyard bully compare to them if anything. The older man was right, he wasn’t a criminal because although he might scheme, threat, and manipulated, Aaron knew for a fact that he had never taken it too far or even gotten his hands dirty.

Robert could threatened someone in cold blood but not kill them unless he felt cornered and that was not what they were looking for, in fact that would get him killed fairly quickly. Aaron won’t deny that Robert is brilliant and he would make an amazing strategist once he got his shit –the need to please a dead daddy and hide who he truly was or to snap at anyone like a cornered/injured animal- together but Aaron was too selfish to let him in.

He will never bring Robert into that world and if he has to spoil the man rotten to keeping him away and distracted than he would keep the man in blissful luxury because Robert was his and he wasn’t going to share him with anyone or anything. Aaron needed Robert to be safe, the idea of the man in danger made his heart beat faster and his hands twitch with the need to make someone bleed. The two men didn’t even make it to the bed room as they fell to the floor in each other’s arms.

‘God I love this man’


 The next morning

Sometime during the night the two men manage to somehow make their way to the small bedroom that Robert had been too distracted by a blow job to complain about. After their hard shag in the living room floor, the two made love in the bed at a slower pace and enjoying the marks that they both left behind in the possessive haze provoked by everything that had happened.

“This is the end I was hoping for.”

“What…?”

 “When you texted me to meet, I was hoping that we would go at it one last time.”

 “…” suddenly the atmosphere was ruined and Aaron was pissed but Robert seemed to not notice or not care.

“Shit! What time is it!? I have to go…”

For the first time Robert noticed that it was getting light out and he rushed to get dressed before everyone in the village woke up and noticed he was gone. He could not be late for his wedding, Robert noticed that Aaron wasn’t moving “why are you just lying there, let’s go! You’re my ride, come on.” Robert ordered ignoring or not noticing the storm in Aaron’s eyes “you’re still thinking of going through with this?” Robert rolled his eyes exasperated

“Aaron come on, I don’t have time for your fit. We talked about this, I’m sorry you confused things but that doesn’t change that I’m marrying Chrissie.”

Aaron noticed that the man didn’t say that he loved the woman again, as good of a liar as Robert was even he had a limit on how much he could lie to himself. Aaron put his clothes on at a more subdue pace saying nothing to the frantic man that was trying to remove any trace of Aaron and their night off him. While Robert was in the bathroom Aaron prepared tea for them both with toast for him and sat down to eat calmly.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m eating, I prepared you a cup”

“Aaron…”

Robert looked between the door and the cup before sighing and sitting down for one cup “this doesn’t change anything, I’m still getting marry to Chrissie.” Aaron watched as Robert drank his tea “I know; I realized that tumor is more deeply rooted in your head than I thought.” Robert nodded his head until he process the words “what…?” he was so confused but Aaron just finished his toast and tea calmly.

“I love you and I know you love me…”

The confusion turned to annoyance and frustration as Robert rolled his eyes, he was going to snapped at Aaron for still going on about that and not letting go when the man looked up with a dark look in his eyes. Robert felt strange, his tongue was numbed and his muscles felt heavy almost like we was tired after a long day of working out. He tried to move and when his muscles moved like that of a sloth he began to panic.

“Got to give him props, I didn’t think it would take effect so quickly.”

“Aaron…” Robert’s eyes widened as Aaron smirk at him.

“Don’t worry it’s just a numbing drug, nothing dangerous. The effects will only last a few minutes, less maybe since you’re so fit.”

“Wha…Why…?”

“I can’t have you stopping me…” Robert stared in shock as his muscles grew heavier, Aaron moved him to the sofa as he could barely move “…you see I realize that I just have to remove more options so that you would finally feel free to choose me.”

Robert’s eyes widened, he thought of Katie at the bottom of his old house and then he thought of Chrissie probably getting ready for their wedding. He tried harder to move, grabbing Aaron’s sleeves and pleading with the man to stop. Instead Aaron kissed him on the forehead probably avoiding the drug that might still be lingering on Robert’s lips before getting up. He saw as the younger man went around and locked the windows all around the house; the windows Robert was now noticing were heavy duty.

In fact as he thought about it he remembered how little windows there were, how secluded the place was and how thick the door was. Aaron planned this all along; he was going to leave him there while he went and ruined his wedding. Robert felt a tear slide down his face as he felt betray by the man he had grown to care for “I know you’re pissed and I will to do a lot of groveling to make it up to you I promise but I know it will be worth it…” Aaron wiped Robert’s tear and the older man tried to move his head but he couldn’t.

“…because you’re worth it…” those clear blue eyes stared at him with so much emotion that Robert realize that Aaron didn’t know that this was wrong “…we’re worth it.”

‘Why the bloody hell can’t I hate you!’

Robert wasn’t mad at Aaron; he was mad at himself for still wanting the man and at the small part of him that wanted Aaron to succeed. “Once the drugs wears off you’ll find that there is everything you need in here to keep you comfortable, I’ll be back soon, after I’m done cutting off your ball and chain.” Aaron smiled his tone was casual as if he hadn’t just drugged and kidnapped his lover the day of his wedding.    

“If you…If you kill her…I’ll…I’ll never forgive you!”

Robert tried to yell as Aaron was about to walk out the door although the words came out as more of a stuttered whisper but either way the man heard them. Aaron didn’t turn around but the words seemed to stop him in his tracks, Robert was hoping that Aaron would come to his senses. That he could still use the younger man’s love for him to manipulate him and stop him from ruining everything Robert’s worked so hard for.

‘I’m so close…so close to being…normal…’

But after a few second Aaron continued walking away, walking out of the cabin and locking the door, leaving a mostly paralyzed Robert behind screaming after him or at least trying to. Robert didn’t see that as Aaron walked to his car the younger man’s hands were shaking and his eyes were cloudy. Hearing Robert so firm and desperate to deny his feelings hurt Aaron because he knew that it was hurting the man as well.

From experience he knew Robert would be much happier being himself, he wanted to see the free and unrestrained Robert that he only gets glimpses of. Aaron knows that Robert will forgive him and someday thank him ‘when the ghost of Jack Sugden is no longer whispering in his ear.’ He knew that all Robert’s issues with his sexuality had to do with the man; in fact he would bet that most of Robert’s insecurities had to do with that man.

‘If he were alive, I would have had fun with him…’

He sent a text to the person he has around to make sure that they will keep an eye on Robert and make that the drug leaves his system in the next few minutes and doesn’t leave any side effects. Once he got a confirmation and threatened the person with a fate worse than death if something happened to Robert, Aaron drove away taking a deep breath to resettle himself. He had to go prepare himself for the wedding that was no doubt going to be fun, at least for him.


 White/Sugden Wedding

Victoria was freaking out, she had woken up and Robert was nowhere to be seen “babe I’m sure he just snuck out to see Chrissie, he’s probably on his way back.” Adam tried calm his girlfriend down “then why won’t he answer his phone or even left a note!? No, it has to be something else, what if something happened to him?” Victoria’s eyes widened as her panic took a new level; Adam immediately took her into his arms.

“Don’t think like that, your brother is fine. Any moment now he will walk in with that smug smirk of his and not apologizes at all, making you want to punch him and hug him.”

His words had the desire effect of getting a wet giggle from the woman “I’ll probably do both” he laughed and pulled back drying her tears, praying that Robert walked through that door any moment. It didn’t help him that they found Peritas at the door waiting faithfully for his human, the dog kept whining and scratching at the wood. ‘Something tells me he knows something that we don’t’ Adam made Vic some tea and sent a text to Aaron hoping that his friend could help look for Robert.

An hour before the wedding and Adam was losing his confidence in keeping Victoria calm especially since Peritas who was very in tuned to Robert seemed just as agitated and panic. “Babe, we have to go over to the Church…” that got him a furious glare from his girlfriend “great idea Adam, let’s go to church for a wedding without the groom!” Adam didn’t take Vic’s anger personal; he knew that it wasn’t directed at him.

“…we can’t be late and make everyone think something is wrong, Aaron promised to look for him. You know they have become friends, so I’m sure he’ll fine him, okay?”

That seemed to calm her down a little as she placed the bowtie and leash on Peritas heading to the wedding. The village was buzzling with excitement; all those invited were making their way to the church while those that weren’t stood outside like it was some royal wedding. ‘Most likely waiting to see some drama, vultures’ Victoria glared at the excited faces, all they needed was the popcorn and they would look like they were at the movies.

Peritas still seemed agitated pulling on the leash, making it hard for Victoria to walk slowly so Adam helped by holding the dog. Diane and Andy were waiting at the entrance for her “there you are dear, you look lovely…” the older woman looked behind Vic most likely looking for Robert “where’s Robert?” Andy was the one to ask although he didn’t really seem to care just curious “Oh…um he’s coming…” They both raised an eyebrow ‘damn it! Robert is right, I’m a horrible liar.’

“You know Robert, his priming. Everything has to look perfect…”

Adam was a lot better at lying, his grin and optimism also helped calm people down and deviate attention from Victoria’s strange behavior. Both Peritas and Victoria were the only ones that didn’t seem to be happy and enjoying the wedding. Adam discreetly checked his phone hoping that Aaron would respond to his text, he lied to Victoria when he told her that his best friend was out looking for Robert. He had send Aaron a text but the man hadn’t responded, he wonders if work came up and that was what was keeping his friend busy.

“When did you say Robert was coming?”

Andy, of course was the suspicious one who finally voiced what everyone was beginning to wonder since the bride would be there soon and the groom hadn’t even showed up. People were beginning to wonder if Robert had done a runner and left the bride at the altar. “He’s…um…he should…” Vic looked around praying to catch a glimpse of Robert walking over “Vic, what’s going on? Is Robert making you cover for him?”

Diane immediately turned to the young woman “Victoria? Are you lying for your brother? If he’s up to something…?” she placed her hand on Vic’s shoulders in comfort. She gave Victoria a motherly and compassionate look that usually always got them to talk. Normally that look would work on Victoria and she would slip all her secrets but this was different because this was Robert, her big brother had always been there for her and she wanted to be there for him.

Victoria was also beginning to see that the family had some serious bias against Robert ‘even father was bias…’ that one hurt her the most. She could see why Robert constantly acted like it was him against the world because something it was. She might not have been the best sister but now that she had her brother back she was determined to stick by his side come hell or high water. “Vic!” She was startle by Andy’s voice, when she looked up the man looked like a bloodhound that had just caught the scent of meat.

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing! We’re having a wedding; now, Andy you had your day so let Robert have his.”

“If you can’t lie, what you do is you turn the attention. I personal do it with a low blow something that would distract them, and then you walk away. This is important, because you don’t want to give them a chance to regain balance…”     

Robert’s words were fresh in her mind as she pulled Peritas and walked inside the church leaving Andy and Diane speechless. Even Adam stared after his girlfriend with surprise and a little heat before following her ‘who knew snarky Vic would be so hot, Robert might actually be a good influence.’ Some of the guests followed Victoria inside to wait for the bride and groom or whoever came first ‘or at this point, whoever came at all.’

The chapel was decorated with beautiful white lilies and orchids; the aisle was sprinkle with white rose petals while peach and blush colored ribbons tied the flowers together and closed off one end of the pews. At the front there were two tall sticks with ribbons wrapped around them and flowers at the top, looking like flower trees. It was a stark contrast to Andy and Katie’s simple wedding that had a meadows almost farm like feel while this one felt like chateau or  royal flower garden feel.

(Author Note: I know this wasn’t the look of the wedding but I feel like someone like Chrissie, with the money she had would’ve gone all out on her big day, plus this Chrissie in vain and she’s not going to let some simple small village woman outshine her.)

Victoria felt even worse seeing the effort Chrissie had put into everything, she sat down at her place in the front with Peritas by her side avoiding the stares. She felt as Adam sat next to her but she distracted herself by petting the dog, the animal seemed to know that there was something wrong and almost tried to reassure her that everything will be fine. “Babe, he’s going to show up. Probably fashionably late to make an entrance”

“I hope so…”


Being paralyzed is a strange yet terrifying feeling, like being stuck in one’s own body ‘this is what those princesses stuck in a tower in the fairytales Vic loved as a kid must’ve felt like.’ Robert felt prisoner in his own body and it was all thanks to the man that claimed to love him. The fury burned bright in the back of his mind waiting until it could be dealt with; right now there was a bigger issue that took precedent.

Robert felt his breathing slow down “It’s not enough to stop your breathing, just enough to keep you still…” he heard Aaron’s voice clear in his head ‘who does this!? Who drugs the person they claim to love with something that could possibly kill them!? When I get my hand on…’ Robert tried to move his fingers but while he sent the signal from his brain, his fingers wouldn’t listen. The panic started to set in, not only at not being able to move but also at what Aaron was doing back home.

‘Was he telling Chrissie everything? Did they wonder where he was? Does the village know…?’

He wished that the drug would’ve numbed his brain as well, to stop it from overthinking and making the situation worse by panicking. Robert knew he had to be calm down and think rationally ‘one of us has to.’ He thinks of his faithful four legged companion who is probably worried about him and wished that Aaron would at least have brought him the dog. ‘Probably scare I would make Peritas bite him in the balls…’ he thought about how much he enjoys that part of Aaron’s body ‘…maybe not the balls, a leg instead…?’

Robert wonders if Aaron would really be capable of killing Chrissie, the image of Katie hanging by the younger man’s hands as he choked her came to mind. He remembers how calm and unaffected Aaron was after Katie fell even when the police interrogated them ‘I get the feeling he’s done it many times before.’ Robert was scare at how much that didn’t really make him hate or even fear the man, it didn’t dimmed his feelings for Aaron.

Even worse the idea that Aaron would kill for him filled Robert with warmth ‘no one has ever loved me, let alone loved me enough to kill for me.’ He knows that he shouldn’t feel the way he was feeling, Robert should be terrify and cut all ties with the man. He should try to escape and run, far away from Emmerdale and Aaron but just the thought of never seeing Aaron again made his stomach turn and his chest hurt.

Robert was getting a headache as his thoughts felt like they went on a merry go round, he was pissed at Aaron and he knew he should be scare but at the same time he still had feelings for the younger man and wanted to be with him. “It’s because you’re defective, this wouldn’t have happened if you were normal…” His father’s harsh voice berated him “…You were always messed up, did you really expect to attract someone normal?” Robert closed his eyes tightly hoping that the voice would go away.

‘Shut up! Do one!”

He felt the anger, frustration and self-hate that had always been with him since he was fifteen rise up; it was like having a sixth toe, it was not normal and shouldn’t be there but he was used to. It was an old friend that kept him warm yet cold ‘it keeps you humble and almost human…’ now it was Katie’s voice that was haunting him. ‘Fantastic, anyone else wants to join the ‘drive Robert barmy’ party?’ Katie shouldn’t even be his ghost to carry ‘fuck her! She died for being a nosey cow and it wasn’t by my hands.’

Robert clenched his hands refusing to feel guilty for a crime he didn’t commit, he had warned Katie off and told her to mind her own business plenty of times. He refuses to make the woman a martyr like everyone in the village probably will once they find out the news. Thinking of the village made him think of the unfair bias that the people including his family seemed to have against him ‘like they hadn’t done the same or worse as me, he who is free of sin throw the first stone…’ the hypocrisy made him roll his eyes ‘…guess they forgot that bible verse, arseholes.’

Then he realized that he clenched his hands and blinked his eyes ‘holy…!’ Robert tried again and was able to stiffly move his fingers. He checked to see what else he could move starting with his toes then his legs ‘too soon for that.’ Either way he felt excited at finally being able to move, hopefully he would make it to the wedding on time or at least make in today ‘and say what?’ Suddenly he lost his excitement, what does he tell everyone ‘I can’t tell them what happened or Aaron’s involvement; there would be too many questions.’ That was the reason he wouldn’t tell anyone and he was sticking to it.

‘At least I still have some time to think; hopefully it’s only a few minutes.’


The Sugden/White wedding was ready to commence, everyone expect for the bridge and her family were inside even the officiant. “Vic where is he?” also the groom was missing and it was making everyone whisper, there was even mentions of left at the altar. Victoria as the one who had been sort of in charge of the groom, since he was staying with her and she was the best woman was receiving all the attention and questions.

“Victoria, love, is Robert making you hide something…?” Diane asked softly ‘was that tone always so patronizing before or is Robert rubbing off on me too much.’

The young woman rolled her eyes “no Diane, you know Robert doesn’t tell anyone anything. Anyways he’s probably looking to make a grand entrance.” She deviated attention because she was beginning to panic and worry; those emotions were not a good combination “…deviating attention works for getting out of almost every situation…” Victoria was thankful for Robert’s lessons in not being so naïve when they were younger.

“Yea, probably coming in on an elephant or something”

Victoria was also thankful for her boyfriend who continued to be a constant support in helping avoid the attention and questions. The man gave a big goofy grin that made Diane smile in endearing amusement and made Andy roll his eyes in exasperation. Adam saw the moment Aaron walked into the church, he has always been in tuned to his best friend’s presence but this time he just saw him because he had been staring at the door waiting for Robert to come in so he could punch him for worrying Vic.

“Excuse me”

He got up and felt Victoria’s eyes on him, giving the woman a smile to keep her from following him when she saw Aaron “I’ll be right back.” If it was bad news he didn’t want Victoria to hear it especially if she was right and something really did happen to Robert. “Have you found him!? Adam whispered; his words filled with urgency “there’s a bigger issue than that.” Adam looked at Aaron incredulous “what could be a bigger issue than the groom missing on his wedding day!?” Aaron pulled him outside and took him to the side, making sure that no wondering ears heard him; all the town gossips were out and about after all.

“One of our police contacts reached out to me…”

“Aw mate, don’t tell me something happened to Robert? Is he in jail…or worse dead!?” Aaron rolled his eyes in annoyance “…How am I going to tell Vic?”

“Will you shut up!? It’s not Robert, its Katie…”

“Katie? What does she have to do with anything?”

“She’s dead”

Adam’s eyes widened at the news, it was not what he was expecting to hear from his best friend and suddenly he realized what Aaron meant by Robert’s disappearance not being important. This would derail everything; no one would care about the missing groom when one of their own was dead. “How did it happen? Does it have anything to do with Robert’s disappearance!?” Adam was thrown off by the glint he was in Aaron’s eyes “don’t worry about Robert, he’s fine.” There it was that dark glint that usually announced at least to him and those who knew Aaron well, that the man had done something devious.

“Mate, what did you do?”

The only answer he got was an unimpressed stare that said ‘if you can’t get it there’s no point in explaining it to you’ and a smirk followed after. “Aaron did you…?” He couldn’t say the words due to the people milling around the church “she was getting annoying.” Was Adam surprised that Aaron killed someone? No, he was not but he was surprise that he killed someone so close to home. Aaron had never had an issue with Katie and she was his mum’s best friend, the only thing that was new was…

“Holy…! It’s Robert!? Isn’t it!?”

The exclamation was whispered only due to his many years of training in the business but if not he was sure he would’ve shouted the realization out. Robert was Aaron’s mysterious bloke that he refused to talk about but has made him smile and laugh constantly. For a few minutes he grinned, as Aaron’s best friend he couldn’t help but tease the man “I didn’t know smarmy prats were you’re type.” Aaron just rolled his eyes “what you though it was muppets like you?” Adam just wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“Stop lying to yourself, you know you wanted a piece of this. Sugden is just your second choice cause I’m with Vic”

“Keep dreaming, it will never happen. You wouldn’t be able to handle me”

Aaron smirk getting a shove from his best friend before his smile dimmed “what are you going to do about the wedding?” Adam looked around as if remembering where they were and what was about to happen “nothing, sit back and hopefully watch some fireworks.” Adam didn’t seem 100% onboard for that plan “mate, Vic is in there worried sick.” He was loyal to Aaron but he also wants to remain loyal to Vic and he hopes that he never has to choose between the two “don’t worry; I’ll have Robert call her after the ceremony.”

The words seemed to calm Adam who went back to smiling like a loon “let’s go back inside and enjoy the show.” Adam knows that Aaron could be a little dark and cold but he never minded because to the people he cared about the man was completely different. Aaron had been his first friend and had given him a chance, making sure that he had all the tools to succeed; no one had been in his corner like that before. It also helped that the man had taken a bullet for him even before they were best friends.    

“Why would you do that, we’re not even close!?”

“You’re like a puppy, I always wanted a puppy.”

He had been pissed at Aaron’s response at the time but had to focus on getting the man help, they had been inseparable ever since. They walked back inside the church together and Adam saw a vintage white car with flowers drove up to the church. It was pretentious and classy at the same time, which he didn’t think was possible.

The flowers on the car matched the ones in the church; the people outside moved closer to get their first look at the bride wondering if the groom was with her ‘boy are they in for a surprise.’ From inside the clear windows he could see Chrissie’s fierce glare ‘Aaron is definitely going to get his show.’


Chrissie was furious, today should’ve been the best day of her life yet she got a text from one of her guest telling her that Robert wasn’t there. “I swear if Robert humiliates me I will make him regret it” her father next to her almost enjoyed what was happening “I told you that man was bad news from the very beginning, he wasn’t good enough for you then and when we got here it was even more clear…” Lawrence was sure that the man was long gone, Robert was nothing but a gold digger “father, I can’t do this with you right now.”

Chrissie had no patience for her father’s rants about Robert, since hearing the news he had been insufferable. “Sweetheart, I just hate seeing you hurt and I knew this would happen…” Chrissie rolled her eyes as the car stop in front of the church “Yes, you have told me constantly! But right now I need you to be on my side and support me.”

Lawrence had the decency to look chastised and ashamed “of course, you know no matter what I’m always on your side.” Chrissie looked outside seeing some people standing around and staring at the car “I’m glad Rebecca couldn’t make it” they were all most likely waiting for her to be humiliated so that they could all laugh and enjoy the show. Lawrence grabbed his daughter’s hand in silent support “we could leave, we don’t have to go inside…”

She actually gave the suggestion some thought but she could not give these people the satisfaction of watching her run with her tail between her legs. Chrissie’s own ego refused to let her believe that Robert wasn’t going to show up, she wasn’t the type of woman that was left at the altar. Taking a deep breath she nodded at her father and the man walked out to open the door for her.

The whispers were loud enough for her to hear the pity and surprise in their voices as they spoke about how brave she was, how surprise they were she actually showed up and the confirmation that she was being left at the altar. Chrissie glared at everyone shutting them up ‘how dare they think that they were better than me, that they have a right to pity me!?’ She was going to strangle Robert when he showed up.

Inside, the church was exactly what she imagined and designed; it’s not exactly what she dreamed of but it was the closest she could get with what she had to work with. ‘I never dreamed of getting married in a small and dull village…’ all things considering she made the old church look presentable, it was good that Robert convinced her to not invite their clients and most of her friends to the ceremony. “Do you really want them to come to Emmerdale and interact with the people here…!?” Now she was wondering if he only suggested that because he knew what he was going to do.

Everyone stood up as she walked down the aisle, the music played but she ignored it and focused at Victoria standing at the altar on what should be Robert’s side. He’s the one that should be there looking at her like he was the luckiest man in the world. Chrissie smiled, she had to keep up appearances but when she reached the altar she whispered harshly “where the bloody hell is he?” Victoria looked embarrassed “I’m sure, he’s on his way…”

“What do you mean, you’re sure? Wasn’t he staying with you!?”

Again Chrissie whispered harshly before smiling at the crowd as if nothing was wrong when in reality everyone was aware that something was wrong. Victoria was anxious and she wanted to pace the way that Peritas was currently pacing, the dog is definitely missing his human. “He was but…he wasn’t in the house when I woke up…” Victoria whispered back, much like Chrissie she wanted to keep everything between them but she didn’t count on how petty Andy could be.

“It’s just like Robert to do a runner, like the coward he is.” The man stood up speaking for all to hear and making everyone whisper.

“Robert didn’t run!”

“Then where is he?”

“…”

“Exactly! He ran from the village years ago and he did the same thing now, it’s all he does.”

“You know damn well he didn’t run all those years ago!”

“Vic, sweetheart, I know you want to defend your brother but Andy is right. Robert has never been the most reliable…”

Diane stood up to stand next to Andy sending Chrissie an apologetic look as if the old woman was apologizing for Robert. Andy simply smirked and for the first time Vic saw what Robert is always complaining about “of course, you would take perfect Andy’s side…” She had just thought it was her older brother being jealous but she could see how overwhelming it could be to have no one take your side. ‘I’m so sorry Rob…’

“How would you know? You barely knew him for a few years and most of that he wasn’t in the village, everyone grows and changes why can’t he!?”

Her voice carried throughout the church and surprised everyone by the strength in it, Victoria was basically the village’s sweetheart with her sweet and kind nature so to hear her get angry was surprising. The young woman did go through a rebellious stage but overall Victoria Sugden was by far the most harmless Sugden. After her rebellious years and reconciliation with Diane, she had been fairly docile.

(Author Note: I know in the show it was a little different since Vic did some serious damage pre-Robert’s return –also I just found out she actually knew that Andy set the fire that killed her mother yet she never seemed to understand Robert’s grief- but I’m ignoring that since to me Vic was always a little naïve, also I’m not going to focus too much on the way the show did things because I don’t agree with a lot of them, it also doesn’t really go with this story.)

Diane stepped back, completely surprised by the young girl’s tone because ever since Victoria got over her rebellious phase, the young girl had never talked to her that way. “Victoria! Don’t talk to Diane that way; she’s just trying to help. You know she has always been there for us, don’t let Robert destroy that.” Andy stepped forward disappointed in his sister and angry at the fact that Robert’s bad influence was getting to her.

“As nice as this family drama is to watch, can you save it for a therapy session? This is my wedding day and it’s missing the groom!”

Chrissie had enough of the Sugdens especially because the one she wanted was not there, without Robert she felt no need to be nice to the family. The three had the decency to look ashamed; Victoria took out her phone and called Robert. “Come on Rob, pick up…” it just rang until she got the voicemail, she was really beginning to worry about her brother. “Chrissie…” they all turned to see the priest staring at Chrissie regrettably

“…your time slot is almost over; I do have a baptism after this…”

The old man looked uncomfortable at having to say those words but he had other commitments to maintain. It finally began to set in that Robert wasn’t showing up and that she had been left at the altar, looking around she saw pity in everyone’s eyes. She had never felt so humiliated in her life ‘how could Robert do this to me!?’ the tears began to cloud her eyes. In the back, Aaron smirked watching it all unfold.

It’s wore off and he’s not too happy but no side effects so far

Aaron read the text from the person he had watching over Robert, it made everything even better to know that the drug didn’t leave any damage ‘of course, I would’ve just had to kill my supplier.’ He look up just in time to see Chrissie losing her temper on Victoria who tried to comfort her and of course this made the rest of the Sugdens step up which made Lawrence and Lachlan step in.   

“Looks like even the Princess is not exempt from being dumped”

“Oh my god, I feel so sorry for her. No one deserves that…”

“How cruel of Robert…”

He didn’t like the fact that Robert was coming off as the bad guy but it will be worth it once they were able to be together in the open. Once they were together Aaron could also fix Robert’s reputation if the man wanted him to or he could threated everyone and make them back off. He’ll built a house away from everyone where they could get away and be themselves, it will probably end up looking really posh and modern because Robert would go crazy and Aaron would have very little say.

“Let’s face it, out of the two of us only I have style…”

He could almost hear Robert say with that smug smirk that Aaron finds sexy and sometimes annoying. The place will have a massive yard for Peritas and possibly more dogs to come “I’m not living in an animal shelter!” Aaron could hear his blond argue but that is a battle Aaron is sure he will win. The loud whine of a dog made Aaron look up “Lachlan!” to see Victoria wrapping her arms around Peritas and glaring at Lachlan. Andy and Adam stood in front of her glaring at the sneering teen while Chrissie had her arms around her son in protection.

“What the hell is wrong with you mate!?”

“I don’t care how angry you are, it’s not the dog’s fault.” Aaron looked around and saw everyone glaring at Lachlan

“I can’t believe he kicked him”

“Who kicks a dog?”

“That kid must be a psychopath”

“The last time I left Peritas for a weekend…when I came back he was so sick I had to rush him to a Vet…they think he ate something he shouldn’t…”

Aaron remembers Robert’s words when he asked the older man why he didn’t like leaving Peritas alone for too long. He knew there was more to that story and watching Lachlan’s glare of distaste, he knew that he was right. There was no doubt in Aaron’s mind that Lachlan had something to do with Peritas sickness at that time and that Robert knew that so he kept the dog away from the kid.

‘So you like to prey on the weak…’

He glared at the teen as the mother and grandfather walked him out and away from the angry people that were looking at him in disapproval. “If you…If you kill her, I’ll…I’ll never forgive you!” Aaron could hear Robert’s last words ringing in his head, he knows that Robert doesn’t really care about Chrissie the way he wants to make himself believe he does but for now he wouldn’t risk the man’s wrath.

‘He’s already going to be angry with me…’

Aaron turned to Lachlan and smirked as a plan began forming, he’s not above using a teen especially one that mistreat dogs. He could knock two birds with one stone; he can teach Lachlan a lesson about animal cruelty and send a message to Chrissie. The dark part of his mind began to supply him ideas and it made him smirk even as the Whites left the church.

I need you to pick up some shopping

A trolley full or just a bag?

A trolley

No problem

Aaron smirked, to anyone seeing his phone it might seem like a normal conversation but it was all coded. Picking up the shopping was Aaron’s way of asking his soldiers to either kidnap someone or pick up a package, trolley full stood for a person or body while bag stood for merchandise or product. They never talked about actual people, names, location or even details because that was always given through a more secure network.

The point of the text was to have his people prepare everything and get ready for when the order came in and no time was wasted. Aaron heard the sound of the police car arriving outside and he smirk ‘time for round two.’ He needed everyone to be too distracted to look for Robert or notice that he was gone while Aaron dealt with the Whites. ‘What better distraction than a death and a funeral’ he saw the people leaving the church and snuck out, there was no way he was missing Andy’s reaction to the news.

“We are looking for Andy Sugden…”

Aaron stood of to the side as some people clustered around the constable trying to get information out of him. “His brother was getting married, is everything okay?” He rolled his eyes “what did he do? I though Robert was the screw up” that comment irritated him, the village’s bias against his blond was making him angry. ‘Might have to fix that, maybe show them what a real monster is like’

Everyone was exiting the church, the Whites long gone to avoid any further humiliation. Aaron saw as one of the villagers pointed to Andy walking out besides Victoria. “Vic, I told you Robert only cared about himself…”the young girl looked dejected and worry, it made Aaron wondered if Victoria would be a problem. “Andy Sugden…?” Andy looked up to see two constables walking over to him with a somber look. “Yes…? Is this about Robert?” At the mention of her brother Victoria stepped forward terrified that her worries were being confirmed.

“Is he okay? Did something happen to him? I knew it! He wouldn’t leave Peritas…”

Adam stepped forward to calm the girl down as she got more upset “babe, let the officers talk. I’m sure your brother is fine, besides if something was wrong they wouldn’t talk to Andy.” That calmed Victoria down; Andy wasn’t really Robert’s emergency contact if anything they would go to Chrissie first. “I’m not sure who Robert is and if he’s missing you should place a report and we will help but this is not about him…”

“Then what…?”

“This is about your wife…”

“Katie…? What happened to her!? Is she okay!? Where is she?”

Andy became more and more agitated as the time passed, he had thought it was weird that Katie hadn’t been in bed when he woke up. He had assumed that she was still angry that he told her that it was better that she didn’t go to the wedding. “So you’re taking his side, after all he’s done to us…!?” They had argued the night before and she had left the room but he had assumed that she had left early to ride so he gave her some space.

“There was an accident…”

“What…?”

“…She was found in an old farmhouse, it seemed that the old floors gave in and she fell through…”

“No! Where is she!?”

“…I’m sorry she was pronounced dead at the scene.”

“NO! Nononononono…!”

Andy fell apart as the officer spoke, his whole world fell apart but he didn’t want to believe it. Diane tried to comfort the devastated man but she was having a hard time keeping her own emotions in check. Victoria forgot about her anger towards Andy as she also got down on her knees to hug her grieving brother. “How is this possible?” she was the only one able to speak and ask for more details.

“We don’t know how long she’s been there, some kids trespassing found her. We are very sorry for your lost…”

“AAAHHH!”

Andy’s loud screams got the attention of everyone who stood behind after the wedding was canceled. Adam thought the story was strange since kids don’t usually trespass on the Sugden farm mainly because they thought it was haunted, then there was the fact that the officers giving the news works for them. ‘Could Robert have done…? Is Aaron covering for him?’ the man wondered. He saw Chas walked over to his best friend and she didn’t look happy as she seemed to be speaking harshly to her son.

“How could you!? Katie had done nothing to you…”

Aaron pulled Chas harshly into his arms burying the woman’s face especially her mouth in his shoulder, to others it just seemed like a son consoling his mother but it was actually much harder. “Be careful when throwing such accusations mother, you can get someone in trouble…” he whispered in Chas’ ear “…you wouldn’t want people to get the wrong idea do you?” there was a false innocence to his tone

“I ‘m just getting used to having a mother, don’t make me become an orphan.”

Chas flinched at the clear threat and the dark tone in her son’s voice, there was no doubt in her mind that Aaron would go through with that threat. “I would never do that to you sweetheart…” she responded more subdue “good, remember family comes first.” He reminded her about their loyalty to the family although she wouldn’t point out how hypocritical it was of him since he threated to kill her.

“I know; it’s just that she was my best friend…”

“Find a new one” Aaron pulled back placing a kiss on the woman’s forehead and before he pulled his lips back he whispered “don’t do it again.”

He pulled back and smiled sympathetically at the woman as if he was sorry for her loss and pain but she knew better than that. ‘Where the hell is that anchor!?’ she wondered as her son turned back to see a grieving Andy and there was no regret in those eyes, her only solace was that she didn’t see pleasure or enjoyment ‘so not a psychopath, maybe a…what was it that Belle called it…?’ Chas watched as her son walked away unbothered by the grief he created ‘…sociopath!’


While the village was distracted by the grief of losing one of their own, Robert was trying desperately to get out of his prison. The drugs had finally worn off although his muscles still felt heavy and he was having a hard time getting them to do what he wanted. ‘Damn it! Fuck you Aaron, I’m going to punch your crazy arse when I get out of here!’ Robert cursed as tried the door again.

His hand shook a little so he decided it was time to try something else, he slowly walked around and noticed the fridge was stock so he checked the windows ‘the motherfucker planned this!’ The windows had a very thick glass that seemed out of place for a house. He doesn’t think that Aaron had this cabin made to keep him in but he couldn’t help but wonder who else Aaron used to keep in this cabin.

Robert could feel himself start to panic but Robert was nothing if not resilient, he had been in far worse situations. So he took a deep breath and calmed down “Okay Robert, think…This is probably used to hold people in…” his knees shook slightly and suddenly “…he didn’t want to kill me or hurt me, he just wanted me out the way which means he had to monitor me until the drugs wore off.” He began to look for hidden cameras or mics in all the common places he’s seen in spy movies.

“This is not a stupid movie!”

He became frustrated when he realized he was acting like a fanboy living his favorite movie, it was even worse because he didn’t find anything. Robert ran his fingers through his hair and sighed before he saw a shadow in the trees, someone was out there. “HEY!” He banged on the front window trying to get their attention “OVER HERE! HELP…” Robert yelled unaware that the cabin was soundproof. That didn’t matter because the person outside saw him and texted Aaron, the boss responded with an order to ignore the blond man unless he was injured.

His frustration turned back to anger at himself, at the arsehole outside, at Aaron, at Katie, at his dad…always at his dad. Robert felt the room stretched out as his panic kick started his anxiety, he had been on the edge of an episode for a while and now without the help of his pill cocktail there was no stopping it. “This was what you were trying to warn me about, huh boy?” Robert wondered as he realized why Peritas had been so anxious and attached to him lately, the dog was trying to warn him that an episode was near but Robert ignored him. He held his head, rocking back and forth “why couldn’t I be normal!? I hate this, I hate it…” he started slapping his head almost as if trying to knock his brain around and force it to work normally.

Robert tried the breathing exercise that his therapist told him about and trying not to hyperventilate. This was normal for him; whenever an episode was coming Robert always got a massive panic attack almost like a mini diagnosis every time. The first time Robert was told he had bipolar disorder, after denial and trying to play it off, Robert had such a massive panic attack that they had to incubate him because he wasn’t breathing. Ever since then he always got a panic attack before an episode, thankfully not as bad as that time.

‘Never as bad as that…’ he also learned that was more of a Robert thing than a bipolar thing ‘…figures, I always have to be an overachiever even when being a disaster.’

“Don’t fight it Robert, when an episode is coming let it come; there are very few things that could stop an episode. The calmer you are the less stressful the episode is since it feeds on the emotions you are feeling…”

“Like a monster”

“…”

Even his therapist could not deny that this illness was a monster that preys on his mind and normalcy. Robert took deep breaths and tried to remember the yoga tricks one of the girls at his old support group taught him because they helped her. “It has really helped me, you should try it…” she had been so nice and Robert regrets rejecting her help “that’s not really my thing.” He was so against anything that he believed would make him less of a man in his father’s eyes that he would actually cause himself harm to avoid them.

Robert locked away all thoughts of his father; it was not what needed during an episode and instead tried to relax. He thought about Peritas, imagining the dog’s fur against his fingers or the dog’s comforting weight on Robert’s chest. He laid on the floor and for a brief second almost expected Peritas to come over and sit with him, whining slightly almost as if saying ‘don’t worry, I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.’ When the dog didn’t show up Robert was the one to whine but it was his fault because he left Peritas at home.

As he had to deal with what felt like a hard manic episode, Robert was filled with regret and lying alone in that cabin floor he swore never to leave Peritas again. The dog was not leaving his side no matter what anyone said. Screw Chrissie and her concerns about looking barmy with a service animal. Then Robert thought about the questions from everyone on the village but if Aaron really does kill Chrissie than Robert would just leave ‘and this time make sure to never come back…’

(AN: I’m not sure how it feels when someone with bipolar has an episode, this description is based on general mental health and a little bit of the depression as well as Robert himself. I tried to see both episodes as characters and gave them personalities based on their symptoms.) He watched as the as the ceiling moved as if he were running, it started of slow but it got faster and faster. Robert turned to the room and saw as it closed in and ran as well, like a long hall with no end. “So far away…” Then the colors dimmed as if he had suddenly gone colored blind so he closed his eyes for what felt like hours but were only seconds.

Suddenly everything was bright and overwhelmingly detailed like he was given super high depth glasses, he could feel and see every grain, blemish, spot, scar, and imperfection. Robert needed to mix it, his brain was going so fast and it wouldn’t stop. “So much to do…” It was like everything was calling to him ‘fix me’ ‘clean me’ ‘order me’ over and over again. His brain still wouldn’t stop so Robert walked to the closet, got the cleaning supplies and got to work.

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Night fell on an eventful day as everyone headed to the pub, some to get the gossip while others to mourn and reminisces. The news of Katie’s accident and death overshadowed Robert’s disappearance even Victoria was too distracted in comforting Andy to think about her older brother. The only one that was worried about the man was Peritas, the dog paced the house in agitation and anxiety; but the whines were ignored as Andy’s mournful cries were louder.

The man had gone to identify the body; the constable told him that Katie died on impact from her fall. “Why was she there? I told her those floors were unstable…” Andy cried trying to understand the situation; just as Aaron had ordered, Andy was told that Katie was alone and Robert’s name was kept out of the report.

The pub was filled with a gloomy energy as everyone in the village forgot Katie’s faults and treated her like the heart of the village. Chas couldn’t help but glare at some of the hypocrites who had shunned her best friend and even called her crazy not a few days ago. Now they were all acting as if they actually cared about Katie when in reality they were all just trying to keep appearances.

Her son had disappear after their talk and that worried her ‘where could he? More importantly, what is he doing?’ She was worried that Aaron’s disappearance meant that she should wait for another body to come up.


And she was right, Aaron was walking over towards a farm off Emmerdale that belonged to one of his soldiers but that held a package for him. Some of his most trusted soldiers have property around the village as a protective barrier; they can see and tell when someone new was coming in. These were mostly soldiers that have served the Dingles loyally all their lives and wanted to ‘retire’ in a sense. This world is not something people can actually leave but the Dingles have found a way for them to retire without actually leaving.

“Hello boss, it’s an honor…”

An old woman smiled and nodded respectfully as Aaron walked over, the woman seemed like a sweet grandmother and Aaron almost expected her to be holding a pie in her hand. ‘Who would know those wrinkled hands held blood and that smile has been the last thing many men saw before they died.’ The old woman use to be one of their best assassins before Aaron’s time ‘I wish I could’ve seen it, would’ve been beautiful.’ The husband had been an enforcer at one of their clubs and still had some of the muscles to proof it despite his old age.

Now they were gatekeepers to Emmerdale and took care of a farm filled with animals ‘maybe this could be our future’ “you must be crazy if you think I would live in a farm again…” Aaron could almost hear Robert and it made him smile slightly. “…the trolley is out back in the barn; Tommy can show you the way.” The woman finished with a smile, pointing to her silent husband by the house.

Aaron followed the man to a barn out back; inside the barn looked normal filled with hay and farm equipment. He was led to the end where there was a trapped door hidden on the floor, once opened Aaron saw stairs that led to what looked like a basement. Inside Aaron smiled as he saw two soldiers standing behind someone tied to a chair with a bag over his head. Aaron waved the soldiers and the host out of the room before he took the bag off.

“Hello Lachlan, so glad you could join the ‘dog appreciation’ club…” Lachlan tried to pull a brave face and glare but Aaron could see the fear in the teen’s eyes. Aaron wasn’t a small dog that the teen could bully so he understood the teen’s fear “…we’re going to have so much fun together but first, the initiation.”


The next day, the whole village was in black mourning as Katie’s body arrived to the village and was prepared for the procession to the church. Andy was finally out of tears to cry as his family all stood by him in support. Most of the village was sure that Robert had ran away and lost interest in his disappearance. Victoria was the only one that didn’t believe that, she was sure that something had happened to her brother.

“If I don’t hear from him, I’m going to the police later today”

She had declared to Adam, missing the worry look in her boyfriend’s eyes or when he took out his phone and texted someone. Adam send Aaron a text to remind him that he promised to have Robert send Vic a text, the man has been missing for two days even he was worrying.

Unaware for what was going on, a manic Robert was furiously cleaning the grout of the bathroom tile in the cabin. The rest of the bathroom looked spotless from his cleaning frenzy that he just couldn’t stop.

In the afternoon while everyone was at the pub after Katie’s funeral having a beer in the woman’s memory, the villagers got their next dose of drama. “Where is he!?” A frantic Chrissie stormed in and looked around until her eyes landed on the Sugdens especially Victoria. “Chrissie now is not the time, we just buried Katie…” Diane tried to stop her but the woman was on a war path “I don’t care! Where is he!? What have you done to him?” Chrissie glared at Victoria making Adam stepped in front of his girlfriend.

“Oh get over yourself woman! Robert left you, just move on!” Kerry exclaimed in anger that the woman would be so cold and selfish.

“How about you mind your own business”

“Chrissie I know Robert’s hurt you but now is not the time, we are dealing with Katie’s lost…” Diane again tried to calm the woman down.

“I don’t bloody care about Robert, that arse could burn in hell…!” At those words everyone was confused.

“Then who are talking about…?”

“Lachlan, my son! I know you have done something to him for pushing the mutt…”

Everyone was even more confuse, more so because Chrissie was glaring at Victoria as if blaming the girl. Everyone knew that Victoria was the heart of the Sugdens, to many she was the good one, the only one that turned out right. “How would any of us know where your brat is, isn’t that your job as his mother?” Adam responded although inside he was trying to piece everything together, again he gets the feeling Aaron has something to do with this.

“I know you did something to him, you were all mad at him and suddenly he disappears…”

Everyone was whispering about the teen’s disappearance but one thing was for sure everyone was certain that Victoria had nothing to do with it. “While I don’t condone animal abuse and he’s lucky Robert wasn’t present to see that, I wouldn’t hurt him because I’m nothing like him.” Chrissie stepped forward as if to attack the younger woman for her comment but Andy stepped in front of her.

“My mum taught me to never hit a woman but you do what I think you want to do and I might risk the scolding.”

“You might not hit a woman but I can and will…” Moira stepped in front of her son, staring the woman down despite their difference in height.

Chrissie stepped back and glared at the whole lot, the woman was clearly furious especially seeing that she was getting no support from anyone. Lawrence rushed in “Chrissie come on, let’s go” he could feel the tension and knew the situation could turn dangerous especially when he saw Cain standing up in the corner ready to defend his wife. “Leave this people, we will call the police and have them deal with them” Lawrence glared pulling his daughter away and out of the pub.


Meanwhile Chas was worry that Aaron was still not home, she tried calling and texting the man but he hadn’t responded. When it became dark and the pub began to empty and Aaron was not back she called back-up. “You haven’t heard from him?” Paddy walked in “no word, I tried to contact him again but nothing.” Paddy didn’t seem as worry as her “it’s not the first time he has disappeared and come back in the morning.” She knew that she couldn’t explain the situation to Paddy without revealing too much so she was frustrated.

“I know but this time it’s different…”

“How so?”

“…It just is…” Paddy raised an eyebrow before staring at Chas with sympathy as if she was just an over protective mother worrying about nothing “I think the news of Katie has all our emotions running high…”

“No! Think about it, first Robert disappears…”

“He did a runner…”

“Leaving his dog and all his things behind?” at this Paddy began to look pensive as he processed the woman’s words.

“Now Lachlan disappears…”

“Do you think Aaron could be in danger?”

“I don’t know but my instincts are telling me that if we find one of them then we’ll get some answers.”

“What do you want me to do? How can we find them…?”

“…I don’t know”

The next day Paddy was the one to figure out a solution “we can check the GPS on Aaron’s car to see where he’s been, it’s still parked outside…” the man walked in excited “…his last location could be where he is now…?” Chas snapped up at the man’s “Paddy that’s a great idea!” smiling and exclaiming before hugging him and making him blush. Chas was hoping that the GPS could actually tell her where Aaron’s anchor was since she wasn’t really worried about her son’s safety

‘More worry about others safety.’

The car was park in the Pub’s parking lot; her son normally doesn’t take his personal car to business meetings which in this case was fortunate for her. She used the key to turned off the alarm and open the car “keep a look out, I will check it out.” Chas didn’t want to risk Paddy seeing something that he shouldn’t. Inside her son’s car was mostly clean and Chas made sure not to touch anything with her fingers.

Turning on the GPS she looked up the last location the car had been too, she was distracted by seeing the location of the Sugden barn and her eyes clouded over. ‘I guess that confirms it’ she shook her head and focused on last location which confused her. She took a picture of the address with her phone, she didn’t recognize that location from the family business but she knew that Aaron added a few new places when he took over like the scrapyard.

“I got it!”

She closed the car, locking it and setting the alarm, she also wiped the door handle one more time before turning to Paddy. “Where is it?” Paddy asked “here…” she showed him the picture on her phone. “I know this place!” Chas turned to the man surprised; if Paddy knew where this was it couldn’t be related to the family business, maybe Aaron had bought a house for himself. “I went to see a client around there” he seemed excited to know that information.

“Well…what is there?” Chas asked when the man didn’t continue to talk “not sure.”

That response made her roll her eyes, the man was clueless in pretty much anything that wasn’t animal related so she shouldn’t have been surprised. She enjoys Paddy’s friendship and company but the man could be a little oblivious. “Come on lets go see” she walked over to her own car, hearing the man’s steps follow behind her.


The drive wasn’t too long but it was definitely ways off, almost in the woods away from everything. Chas was beginning to think that bringing Paddy was a bad idea as it was looking like the place was related to the family business the closer they got. “Turn here” Paddy instructed her as they drove up a hill and saw a cabin in the middle of nowhere. It was isolated but well taken care of, based on the lights it was clearly not abandon.

“Who do you think is inside?”

Paddy asked just as Chas saw the tell-tale sign of a sniper, the little red dot flash briefly before it turned off. Chas looked in the direction to see the flash of someone disappearing ‘why would Aaron have a sniper watching whoever is in there…?’ She was going to stop Paddy and come up with an excuse to leave when the man exclaimed “oh my god, it’s Robert!” She turned so quickly her neck hurt “what…?”

She ran over to see the man’s back as he turned and disappear into a hallway, Paddy tried to open the door before knocking to get the man’s attention. For a brief moment no one came over but then a blond head popped out of the hall, eyes blown wide. Once seeing them Robert ran over “help me” they could hear the muffled words as the man stared.

Paddy and Chas looked at each other in alarm as the man began to hit the glass frantically. ‘Why would Aaron lock Robert away? What did Robert do…?’ She wanted to leave the man inside ‘maybe he found out something he shouldn’t have’ but with Paddy that would be difficult.

The man was already trying to figure out how to open the door; Chas send a silent prayer that she was doing the right thing and it wouldn’t get her in trouble with Aaron “here let me…” Chas used her bobby pin and picked the lock, she knew the snipper wouldn’t do anything because everyone in the organization knew who she was. It was a rule that you never touched a Dingle; they would deal with blood traitors with their own hands, soldiers were to stay out. Finally she was able to open the door and they walked in

“Finally!”

Robert exclaimed at having someone find him “Robert what are you doing here? What happened to you?” Paddy exclaimed while Chas was the first to notice that the place smelled strongly of cleaning products and that the blond man’s hands were bright red and peeled. “Have you been cleaning all this time!?” She couldn’t believe that while everything was going on the man had been cleaning. “I ran out of Clorox, we need to stop at the store. The grease stains wouldn’t come off the kitchen walls. The steel sponge is too small now and the toothbrush is dirty…need new one…”

Paddy and Chas both finally noticed Robert’s odd behavior; the man was frantic and almost obsessively excited about cleaning while at the same time looking worry. “Oh shit! Chrissie, where is she? I have to go to her. Peritas needs to be fed…” The man rambled on and on, pacing around “What is wrong with you? Are you on drugs?” Robert laughed almost too loudly “I wish, I miss my dosage now I have to talk to the doctor and therapist…therapist, therapist, therapist…” Robert kept mumbling the words as he walked over to continue cleaning an already clean counter.

“Robert, sweetheart…” Chas stepped forward and grabbed the man’s arms “…what do you take drugs for?”

“Not drugs, medicine, big difference…I don’t do drugs…don’t really need them…why mess with perfection…” they both rolled their eyes at the last comment and arrogance it held.

“Okay love, what do you take medicine for?”

“Chas, maybe we shouldn’t ask...” Chas glared at Paddy “…it’s not fair; he’s clearly not in the right mind…”

“I’m not crazy!”

“Of course not love, don’t listen to Paddy. He just doesn’t understand…”

“I’m Bipolar! Not crazy, not crazy, not crazy, not crazy, not crazy…!”

Robert kept repeating those words while going back to cleaning the counter missing or simply ignoring the shock look in Paddy and Chas’ face. The news left them reeling; no one had mentioned that the man was sick let alone bipolar. Paddy was the first to get over his shock and directing Robert out of the cabin and into the car. Chas followed soon after, still trying to process ‘did Aaron arrange this to help Robert keep his illness a secret?’


On the drive back the two decided to take the frantic man to the hospital where he was admitted once they told them about the man’s illness. “We’ll keep him until his manic episode passes for his own safety…” The drive back to the village was filled with silence as the two processed the new information. Chas remembers all the crazy things that Robert has done and it all made more sense. “We have to tell Vic, she’s been worried sick…” Chas broke the silence as they grew closer to the village.

They saw Victoria walking Peritas in the streets and they stopped the car “Vic we found Robert.” The words made the younger word turn frantically to them “what…? Where? Is he okay?” Paddy answered before Chas could think of a lie “we think that Aaron must have helped him find a place to hide, so none would see his illness…” Paddy whispered being more prudent but Chas wasn’t, she told the younger woman.

“Bipolar? Why wouldn’t he tell me?”

“You didn’t see him, he was…”

Paddy shoved her slightly to stop Chas from saying any more, he also send her a pointed look “we don’t know but you can ask him yourself, I’m sure he had a good reason.” Victoria rushed away most likely to leave Peritas at home before running to the hospital. They saw Diane watch the young girl and rush after her. Paddy felt guilty because he knew that in a matter of hours, Robert’s well-kept secret would be out.

“You shouldn’t have done that…

“Victoria deserved to know, she is his sister and she is probably the only one in this village that actually cares about him.”

“Maybe she did but that was not our secret to tell, he had a reason for not telling her and we should’ve respected that. Have you not had a secret you didn’t want anyone to know? How would you feel if someone went behind your back and shared it anyways?”

“…”

‘I would kill them.’

“Exactly! No matter what he had done, Robert deserved his privacy respected just like everyone else.” Paddy walked away disappointed in Chas although not really surprised since the Dingle women were not known for their respect of other people’s privacy especially Chas and Charity.


The hospital room was so white and sterile “a mural would be great there…” Robert couldn’t help but want to give it life. ‘I’m an amazing artist’ unfortunately there was no paint and the staff refused to get him any or let him leave the room ‘a stifling an artist at work…’ Looking down at his hands in disappointment and anger Robert saw his bandaged had where his skin was peeled and smiled “red is perfect for a hospital mural…” He took off the bandages and used the blood to start painting the much needed mural in the blank walls.

Outside, Victoria arrived to the hospital with Diane at her side “I was told my brother was here…” the nurse calmly turned to the frantic young woman “what’s his name?” Victoria was not sure what to think about Chas’ revelation, she first wanted to make sure that her brother was okay “it’s just like Robert to keep secrets and lie even to his family about something so grave…” She didn’t really shared Diane’s opinion when she informed the older woman but Victoria kept quiet, not really wanting to argue with the older woman at the time.

“Here it is, unfortunately he’s not allowed visitors at this time…”

“What!?”

“…but as family I can get a doctor to inform you about his state…?”

“Yes, please!”

The nurse smiled before making a call, Victoria and Diane stepped back to wait for the doctor to inform her about her brother’s condition. She had heard about bipolar disorder more in the joking manner used for people who changed their mind often, are indecisive or emotional. She knew nothing about the actual disorder and the people suffering from it. “I can’t believe that Robert would hide something like that from us, we’re his family…” Diane exclaimed like she had been doing the whole ride over.

‘I should’ve come alone…’

“…although so many things make sense now. He was always off since he was a child; Jack had been right, there was something wrong with him…”

“There is nothing wrong with my brother! He is perfectly normal…!”

“I could not have said it better myself…” They both turned around to see a doctor smiling at Victoria “…it is good for the family to have that mentality. Many forget that their family members are still human and that they’re the same person they were before their diagnosis.”

Victoria felt guilty because for a brief moment she too thought much like Diane, the thought that Robert’s actions now made sense had cross her mind. Diane didn’t seem convince by the doctor’s words, she couldn’t see how it was possible that Robert was the same as before when there is clearly something mentally wrong with him. No, to her Robert was messed up and it explained why he was so selfish, needy, and careless. Now she could actually help him ‘maybe we need to send him somewhere they will help and control him just like Jack tried to and failed…’

“How is my brother?”

“Your brother right now is going through a manic episode which is a period in which he feels overly happy and energized…”

“Isn’t that a good thing?”

“Being happy and energize is a good thing if it’s balanced but with bipolar disorder it is not, in fact it’s to the extreme which can make people going through manic, impulsive and irritable…”

“Is he dangerous…?” Victoria turned to glare at Diane’s question “Vic love, we need to know. If he’s impulsive then he could do something to hurt someone, if so it’s our job to…”

“To what? control him!? Lock him up!?” Victoria was pissed, she didn’t like what Diane was trying to say.

“I can assure you that Mr. Sugden does not need to be admitted, he is high functioning; bipolar disorder can be managed with the right medications. But to answer your questions people in manic episodes can be dangerous more to themselves than others as they can make reckless decisions; it’s the reason why we have him here until the episode works itself through.”

The doctor explained a little about the disorder and what to expect about it but most of all he emphasis that Robert was perfectly functioning and could still live his life. “He doesn’t need to be coddled or controlled; he can be perfectly independent as long as he makes sure to take his medication. In this case, the medications were no longer working which unfortunately can happen with this disorder, the trick is to go back to the drawing board and try a new combination.”

Victoria felt a little more at ease to hear that her brother would still have his independence and would still be the same; she knew that would kill Robert if he had to depend on others to take care of him.

“So he will be fine?”

“Yes, unfortunately this is perfectly normal and all we can do is wait it out. After that we would wait until he’s stabilized and find the combination of medication that works best for him, in the meantime the dog will help a lot.”

“Dog…?”

“Ah yes, it says here that he has a service dog…?”

“Peritas!”

Suddenly so many things made sense, mainly the dog’s behavior in the last two days “what can a dog do?” Diane asked confuse, to her dogs weren’t medicine; they couldn’t cure anything because they were just simple animals. It was a proof of her age “dogs have higher sense than humans do and have been shown to be able to assist in many ways.” The doctor tried to explain without sounding condescending which Victoria wonders how he does it ‘that’s a real talent.’ Diane looked incredulous, she was having a hard time believing that such simple creatures could do things human can’t.

“They can smell certain chemical changes in the body that would signal an attack or episode coming on. For bipolar disorder, dogs do many things like remind the patient to take their medication; they help stop certain behaviors in their humans but also calm the patient during a manic episode as well as provide a link to reality when the patient is lost in a manic episode…” (AN: I got my info on bipolar service dog from this link)  

Victoria had no idea how important Peritas actually was to her brother and she wondered why the dog wasn’t always with him. ‘Was Robert putting himself at risk in order to hide his disorder? Did he feel that unsafe…?’ the thought hurt her and made her feel even guiltier because that meant that she failed as a sister. Diane on the other hand wasn’t completely convince about the importance of the dog but they left Andy alone so she decided that it’s better not to ask and just move on.

“Should I bring Peritas then?”

“It would help to have him here…”


Victoria was excited at being able to do something to help her brother in some way, she had missed years of his life and his struggle but now she could do something to help even if it was just driving Peritas over. For this reason she rushed over to the village and was out of the car without turning off the engine. “Peritas!” she could hear the dog barking excitedly from inside the house almost as if he knew what was going on.

The big German Shepard was at the door waiting with his leash in his mouth “you are such a smart boy, aren’t you?” the thumping of the tail was loud and it made her smile. “Come on lets go, Robert really needs you” the mention of his human’s name made Peritas bark and run out the door “wait…!” She was worry he would run to the streets but instead he sat by the car and waited, that was when she noticed that Diane wasn’t there anymore.

If she wasn’t so excited to help Robert in some way she would’ve worried about the missing old woman who despite her grandmotherly appearance was a massive gossip. She couldn’t focus on keeping the woman’s mouth shut mainly because she assumed that Diane would know to keep this within the family out of loyalty.

She didn’t know that with Diane and Andy family loyalty didn’t really include Robert. That the woman would tell Doug and worse of all Bernice who told everyone she came across so that before Victoria and Peritas arrived at the hospital, the whole village knew Robert had bipolar.

“I knew something was wrong with that boy.”

“I knew that boy wasn’t right, Jack knew too but he tried to help…”

“It makes so much sense, I feel bad for Jack that had to deal with all that…”

“Is it safe for him to be in the village? What if he goes crazy? Then what will we do…?”

“Chrissie dodged a bullet with that one.”

Just like that Katie’s death was no longer the hot topic of the day and everyone was just talking about Robert’s disorder. Most of the comments were filled with ignorance about mental disorders while the others were filled with pity as if Robert was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Either way, the people couldn’t stop talking and that was how Andy found out about everything and was pissed.

“Is it true!?

“I didn’t want to tell you, you’ve been going through so much you didn’t need any more worries…”

“God, it’s just like Robert to always want to be the center of attention. He couldn’t even let me mourn in peace, I wouldn’t put it pass him to have planned all this…”

Andy was angry and frustrated ever since they were young Robert had always been the center of the universe. The blond had this magnetism that not only drew people in but made them want to stay. He had an honesty and confidence that was charming and appealing; all the girls fell for it and all the guys wanted to be his friend.

Robert was like the sun, bright and warm but also dangerous if one got pulled too close. Like the sun everyone liked him and wanted to be in his orbit even Andy. He had felt so lucky that Robert wanted to be his friend until he realized that anyone in the sun’s orbit was always overshadowed by its brightness.

‘Anyone close to the sun would often end up burn in its light…’

He thought with resentment, even when the Sugden adopted him and Andy tried to gain Jack’s approval the man was often always focused on Robert. Whether it was to scold him or discipline him; Robert always had his father’s attention more than any of his other children.

It felt like nothing Andy did would be enough to be seen so when Robert was sent away, he rejoiced because finally there was a cloudy day. But Andy realized that even on cloudy days the sun was still there, Jack didn’t stop mentioning Robert even with the man gone and on his death bed he even asked for the man despite Andy being right there.

“I know love, I’m so sorry about that but know that you still have me and that I won’t fall for Robert’s game just like Jack didn’t fall for them…”

‘But dad did fall for them even if it was in a negative way; he still gave Robert his undivided attention…’ Andy’s thoughts were bitter and resentful even more because Jack’s last thoughts and words were of Robert. ‘…he left Robert the farm even thought I was the one here, working my arse off…!’

“It is tradition, the farm passes to the oldest son and they would become the patriarch. That was how the Sugdens have done it and will continue to do it…Robert is the heir…”

Andy had been furious and he gotten plastered to try and possibly forget about his father’s betrayal, Diane tried to convinced Jack but the man had the Sugden stubbornness and refused to change his mind. Andy knew that until the very end Jack waited and hoped for Robert to come back but it never happened, the bastard didn’t even send a letter.

Andy knew that Jack was filled with guilt over sending Robert away, every year on Robert’s birthday the older man would become irritable and gloomy. He always disappeared for the day and arrived late at night completely plastered and mumbling Robert’s name.

‘Even gone Robert still overshadowed me…’

“…I will always be here for you no matter what.”

‘At least I still have Diane.’


Peritas worked wonders, as soon as he was brought into the room he jumped on the bed where Robert was and layed on the man’s chest. “Peritas…” Robert’s voice was filled with relief at seeing the dog and the nurse released his restrains so that the man could run his bandage fingers through the dog’s fur.

After a nurse had come in and saw that the man had cut himself and was using his blood to pain on the walls, the doctor ordered that he be tied up for his own safety. They monitored Robert through the night but Peritas’ presence did wonders and the doctor felt confident enough to release the man after making an appointment a few days from then to meet and go over medication.

“I would prefer if you stayed so that we can do a trial for medication, I am worry that your current medications no longer work…”

“I’ve just been under a lot of stress recently and that was what caused my episode. The medications work fine”

The doctor didn’t seemed convince but the fact the Robert’s manic episode was over so quickly and was not followed by a depressive episode supported the blond man’s theory. The doctor was hoping that the man’s sister would come in and help convince him to stay because in the end the doctor had no reason or excuse to keep Robert. The man seemed to be on a rush to leave for some reason and with his manic episode over the doctor legally couldn’t stop him.

“I will still need you to come in so we can go over your medication; I see here you are due for a checkup…”

“Yea, I’ll make an appointment…” Robert was frustrated, he just wanted to leave and get over to Chrissie before Aaron did something stupid.

Getting rid of the doctor wasn’t easy as the man was insistent about Robert staying and then about him making a follow-up appointment. It was annoying but he took a deep breath and made the appointment, in part because he was also worry. After that the hard part was getting a cab that would allow Peritas inside without his vest. A few didn’t believe that Peritas was a service animal and it pissed Robert off.

‘All because some arseholes decided to abuse the system and fuck everything up for those like me that actually need the service just because they wanted to bring their yorkie on the plane…’ (Author Note: This is my own opinion based on what I’ve noticed and heard from people with service animals that have had to deal with the repercussions of the people abusing the system with their ‘emotional support’ animals. Not saying that everyone with an emotional support animal is abusing the system but a lot are, like a lady that tried to pass off a peacock as an emotional support animal to get on a plane, like what the fuck lady!?- It’s true look it up.)

Finally he found a cabby that would take him and Peritas “my sister has a service animal so I understand the difficulty.” It also helped that Peritas played his part; he was attached to Robert and completely focused on the man, whereas dogs were usually distracted by new environments and the chasing the wind. Robert prayed and hoped that Aaron listened to him and the younger man had not done what he promised he would do.

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Chrissie was getting ready to go to police station since Lachlan had been missing for a day which officially made him a missing person. Her father had called in some of his connections but even they couldn’t get the police to take the case sooner which was extremely rare since one of their connections was the personal lawyer to the police commissioner of London.

She had heard the rumor going around about Robert and for a moment she couldn’t help but feel vindictive, as if the man’s sickness was a punishment for all he’s done. ‘A punishment that he deserved’ for hurting and humiliating her, she didn’t care about the other people Robert had hurt and used because they didn’t matter. To her that was ambition and drive; she even admired that about him and enjoyed watching him tear into gullible idiots.

“I knew it! I told you that he wasn’t good enough for you. The best thing that could’ve happened was for that wedding to be called off, image what people would say if they knew you were married to someone absolutely barmy.” Lawrence breathe a sigh of relief at hearing the news, there was the smugness in his voice of a man who believed he had been proven right.

When people started to pity her that was when Chrissie became annoyed, mainly because she detested being made a fool of or being wronged especially so publicly. She promised to get her revenge on Robert but she couldn’t focus on that because her son was still missing. Chrissie opened the door just to see Aaron lifting his hand as if about to knock; the young man smirked at the frantic woman.

“Aaron I really don’t have time for this…”

“Oh, I think you’ll make time.”

The man walked in as if he had been invited leaving a surprised Chrissie at the door gaping like a fish out of water. Aaron looked around casually as if he was just another guest in the home, he study the décor and noticed that it was very pretentious like a house trying to be a chateau and failing miserably. With the wall paper, the ostentatious marble vases by the stairs, the ornate fireplace, and even the excess of pointless décor; to Aaron it didn’t feel like a home ‘more like a showroom to display fake wealth and prestige.’

“Aaron I’m serious, I don’t have time for anything you have to say. I’ve already heard the news that he’s…barmy and I’m just happy I avoided that.”

“He’s not crazy!” Chrissie flinched back at the man’s tone “and I will deal with that…” for a brief moment Chrissie saw a flash of something dark and furious in the man’s eyes “…indiscretion later, right now that is not why I’m here although it does have to do with Robert.”

Hearing Robert’s name filled Chrissie with anger and she stepped away from the younger man, turning her back to him. “For all I care Robert could rot in hell, I want nothing to do with him…” Aaron smirked “that’s a good mentality to have, it will make all this very easy.” Chrissie was once again confused “what are you on about?” Aaron’s smile vaporized and the young man’s face completely changed from happy and casual to serious and hard.

“You will stay away from Robert no matter how much he begs or pleads, you won’t touch him or look at him or even think about him. From now on to you Robert Sugden doesn’t exist, am I clear?”

“What makes you think you have the right to demand anything from me especially something that has nothing to do with you!?”

“The fact that we’ve been fucking each other from the moment you arrived.”

“Wha…?”

“That’s right, those business meetings and late night walks…he was going to see me and fucking my brains out. It was absolutely glorious...”

Aaron made an exaggerated pleasurable expression as Chrissie stared with widen eyes, she couldn’t believe what Aaron was telling her but thinking about Robert’s behavior it suddenly made sense. Katie had been right, Chrissie felt like a fool as Aaron smirked at her.

She remembered some nights when she was woken up by the bed moving late at night but Robert just ssshh her “couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want my tossing to wake you so I went downstairs to have a glass of warm milk.” She had thought that she was so lucky because Robert was so considerate. Chrissie watched Aaron smirk and it made her furious, the man didn’t know who he was messing with.

“If it was so glorious you wouldn’t be here warning me off, the truth is you know that if Robert had to choose he would choose me…again.”

Chrissie smirked wanting to remove the smug look from Aaron’s face; Chrissie wasn’t one to lose at anything. Even though Robert had humiliated her, she would take him back just so that the arrogant younger man wouldn’t have him. From the moment they met Robert had been a challenge, he pulled her in with his charm and confidence. The man was brilliant and fiercely independent; he didn’t seem dazzled by her money or prestige “you’re not really my type…”

She remembers desperately trying to gain his attention and approval, it was like wanting to tame a wild animal; it was all about power. At the times all her friends were attracted to Robert even her sister was attracted to Robert so if Chrissie were the one to win him over than it would prove that she was better than them and for Chrissie that was the ultimate high. Robert was a price to be won just to prove that she could and when she did she rose to a whole other level.

Chrissie was the successful beautiful one that all her friends secretly envied; she was never dumped or cheated on. If a relationship ended it was never her fault. “Face it Aaron, to Robert you were nothing but an easy stress reliever. You’re not important or even special; you’re just an independent man’s final hurrah before settling down.” Aaron had no idea who he was messing with but Chrissie was happy to show him, he was nothing but a thug while she was a White.

‘I’ve been dealing with powerful men all my life and they couldn’t with me, I’ll be damned if I let some nobody thug from the middle of nowhere do what they couldn’t.’

Aaron was furious, a part of him wanted to bash Chrissie’s head in but he kept hearing Robert’s words and it stopped him. He might be a beast but he was a beast not willing to lose Robert so he took a deep breath and remind himself of the plan. So he laughed throwing Chrissie off “you think I’m the only one? I’m just the one that made him want to stay.” Aaron smirked as the tables were turned back in his favor making Chrissie’s own smirk freeze before wilting.

“You think he proposed to you because he loved you? Oh love, no…you’re just the beard he’s using to stay in the closet, it was never going to last because sooner or later he was going to burst.”

“…” Aaron walked around the kitchen checking the cupboards in a casual boredom.

“You see Robert was never yours, he’s larger than life and you were never going to be enough for him. He was just using you like an old and worn security blanket…” Chrissie flinched by the way Aaron emphasized old and worn “…and since no one can grow with a security blanket keeping them in their comfort zone, I want you gone.”

There was a menacing air to Aaron’s tone that made Chrissie shiver, it promised pain and suffering that she couldn’t even imagine. She saw that darkness in Aaron’s eyes again and it scared her, she tried to discretely reach for her phone to call someone. “Oh don’t worry, I won’t touch you” She didn’t like the way he emphasized ‘you’, it made her want to call all her love ones and make sure their okay.

Before she could panic even more there was a loud banging on the back door; as she opened it -hoping it was help- her son stumbled in, a bloody mess. “Lucky!” She rushed to his side as he collapsed, on a closer look she could see that one of his eyes was swollen shut and he was covered in scars and bruises all over, she was sure there was more hidden by the clothes.

“Oh my god…! What happened? Who did this to you?” Chrissie was frantic, the tears clouded her eyes and she was so panicked that she wasn’t sure what to do.

Lachlan just groaned in pain, Chrissie wasn’t sure he was aware of his surrounding base on the cut on his head he probably had a concussion. The teen started to cough up blood which could be a sign of internal bleeding “oh god, call for help!” She yelled at Aaron not really turning to him instead trying to focus on her little boy. When she didn’t hear the man talking on the phone, Chrissie turned to see something that turned her blood to ice.

Aaron had his elbows on the island and his face leaning on his hand staring down at them with a false almost mocking pity. The ice blue eyes held mirth and it painted an image “you…” she didn’t get to finish as Lachlan’s coughing interrupted her. “Mum…” the teen tried to talk but he just hissed “don’t worry baby, hold on I’ll get you help.”

Chrissie turned around frantically looking for her phone “looking for something?” she turned to see Aaron holding her phone in his hand “you know he’s not as brave as he acts; teens these days…” Aaron shook his head in mock disappointment “…it’s all bravado no actual bravery. What a waste, you know I think it’s the fact that parents coddle kids too much these days; they don’t experience any hardships or challenges to help them grow stronger.”

“Wha…?”

Aaron walked around until he was standing in front of them; he stared down at Lachlan in distaste. “You know I actually expected more out of the little psychopath, although I would say I thought I was a psycho but he’s on a whole other level. He’s the real deal…” Aaron grimace in false pity for Chrissie “…the things he’s done –poor dogs and girls- and why he’s done them makes me seem like the good guy and trust me that’s saying a lot.” Chrissie glared at the man that mocked them from above not believing one word he said.

“You’re a monster!”

“Oh trust me, I’m not the monster here.”

“You expect me to believe that after what you have done to my son!?”

“I just taught him a lesson about touching what’s not his, a lesson you should take. For you see I’m all about equality with the rewards I hand out and the punishments…”

Chrissie stared widen eyes and held her son tighter, Aaron smiled before taking her phone and calling an ambulance. He sounded so worry and it pissed her off but also frighten her more than she wanted to admit. “Why are you doing this?” she asked once Aaron was done with the call but all she got was a ‘are you serious?’ look.

Aaron bends down until they were on the same level “just remember that your son is alive but that can always change…” that look and those words made Chrissie flinch away.

Suddenly they heard a commotion by the front door followed by “Chrissie? Chrissie are you here? Please let me explain…” they both heard Robert’s desperate pleads before the man rushed into the kitchen “Chrissie there you are, I…” Robert ran in ready to make something up and lie but was greeted with a very confusing picture, a bloody seemingly unconscious Lachlan in a crying Chrissie’s arms with Aaron crouching down in front of them.

“What’s going on?”

He was more worried about Aaron’s presence than Lachlan’s state or the glare that Chrissie sends him. ‘He told her…’ Robert could feel himself panic but Peritas firm and comforting weight at his side calmed him. “Chrissie and I were just having a talk, turns out we have more in common than she thought” Aaron smirked at the woman, making her glare at him “yea, like our bad taste in men.” And there it was, the confirmation that Aaron had told her and Robert felt his whole world fall apart; everything he’s worked so hard for began to crumble.

“Chrissie, I can explain…”

“I’m sure it would be amusing to see what bullshit you can come up with but right now all I care about is my son. I want you both gone from my house and my life…”

“Chrissie…” They could hear the sound of the ambulance approaching.

“Get out!”

Robert flinched away at the woman’s harsh tone, he realized he wouldn’t be able to get anywhere with Chrissie while she was worry about Lachlan. “You promised…” Seeing the teen’s state made him turn and glare at Aaron “I don’t remember promising anything but out of courtesy and love for you…” the younger man walked over and whispered in Robert’s ear “…I didn’t touch her and I even left the little psycho alive.”

Robert could not believe that Aaron was such a hypocrite, the anger he felt towards Aaron for locking him in that cabin resurface “oh that’s rich coming from you, the rabbit mocking the donkey for his big ears.” The two stared at each other and while there was anger in Robert’s eyes there was also still the glint of something more.

Aaron was happy to see that the light hasn’t extinguished, despite what he’s done the man still loves him. ‘That is what makes him perfect for me…’ Aaron couldn’t feel guilty for what he’s done because for people like Chrissie there will be other chances to find love and live happily ever after but for someone like Aaron, Robert was his only chance. There weren’t a lot people out there in the world that were willing to love someone like him, that would stay around despite his faults

‘Hell my own mother couldn’t even do that and that was before I became this. No, Robert is my one and only chance, I can’t let that go so as long as the glint is still there I’m fighting for him, for a future together, for us.’


Soon news got around the village about both Robert and Lachlan’s re-appearance, even juicier everyone had heard that the teen was admitted to the hospital and was in a pretty bad state. Everyone was filled with questions; the pub was full with everyone wanting to hear new gossip. The only thing that they did hear was that Robert had been in the hospital by Chrissie side and that gotten them talking. 

“Do you think she would forgive him?”

“I don’t see why she won’t; after all it wasn’t his fault that he missed the wedding.”

“Yea but he’s sick, she might not want that baggage.”

Chas let out a sigh of relief at hearing that Lachlan was alive; she was worried that her son had killed the teen. For a brief dark moment she wondered if Lachlan was the lover Aaron was hiding but she dismissed the idea quickly. Even her son had limits, a line he would never cross no matter what and being with a kid was one of them. She just hoped that things would calm down and there would be no more dead bodies

‘Emmerdale was supposed to be a murder and work free sanctuary.’

She knew that peace was not going to happen when Chrissie stormed into the pub, looking like she was out for blood “where is he!?” Chas was surprised when the woman exclaimed at her “where is who…?” Before Chrissie could respond Robert ran in “Chrissie don’t do this, I’m telling you it was nothing.” The man looked desperate which was new for him but not surprising as he missed his own wedding so a little groveling was expected.

“You would like that, wouldn’t you…?”

“Chrissie, please let’s talk in private…”

It was shocking and intriguing to see the confident and arrogant man beg but even more shocking was the normally elegant and composed woman’s twisted dark sneer. “All you ever do is keep things ‘private’ including your affair…” everyone gasped as they watched the tennis match, Robert shook his head desperately as if wishing that she wouldn’t finish that sentence “…with that man!” The whole room gasped even louder and Chas began to put the pieces together.

“Robert, is that true?”

Robert turned around to see his little sister walked out of the kitchen with Adam and Diane behind her. “Of course it’s true…” even worse Aaron walked into the pub in that moment as if Chrissie had planned it “…why don’t you ask Aaron? They’ve been sneak off and fucking behind everyone’s back!” Aaron was thrown off, confuse by what he just walked into.

“Holy shit…!” Kerry exclaimed but everyone ignored her to pay attention to the juicy drama going on.

Robert could feel his world falling apart before him, the stares and the whispers; he felt the walls closing in on him. “No brother of mine would be a pansy” he could hear Victoria say with a similar sneer to the one on his father’s face that day. “I can’t believe it, there goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover…” he heard someone say softly. They were all laughing at him and judging him

“This will knock some sense into you.”

“I knew he wasn’t as good as Andy.”

“What a hypocrite”

“Crazy and a pansy, I pity Chrissie, Aaron and the Sugdens.”

It wouldn’t stop and it was sending him into frenzy, Peritas by his side whined and rubbed against his leg. Aaron was the only one to notice Robert’s increasing panic; he knew that Robert was hearing and seeing things that weren’t there, that were created by his pain and insecurities in an effort to torture himself.

Robert couldn’t handle it anymore and he ran off “that’s right run, like the coward you are!” Chrissie glared at the man’s back “hey! Watch it…” Victoria stepped in front of the woman blocking her way and glaring at her “…the only coward I see here is the one airing her dirty laundry in front of everyone to humiliate not only someone else but also herself.”

Victoria might be sweet and kind but she was still a Sugden and with that came many of the traits that ran in the family. One of them was a vicious streak that could destroy anyone at the receiving end of it; they have a talent for finding someone’s biggest weakness and pressing it until they scream.

In that moment many finally saw the similarity between Victoria and Robert, she was definitely the man’s sister in that moment. “Victoria! That was not nice; Chrissie has been through so much because of Robert…” Diane exclaimed making Chrissie smirk but to her surprise there was no apology from Victoria.

“And for that I should take her side over my own blood…? I’m sorry Diane, I’m loyal to my family and I’m beginning to see that for you that has changed but I’m going to support my brother no matter what…God knows apparently no one else does.”

The young woman stormed off, hopefully in search of her brother before he ran too far. She was wondering if this was the reason why Robert never wanted to come back to the village or even contact them. Everyone else was left shocked by Victoria’s outburst “wow, who knew sweet Vic had that in her.” Charity’s almost impress comment seemed to snap everyone out of their shock.

Aaron was pissed, he left Lachlan alive and didn’t touch Chrissie because of Robert and now the woman was pushing his resolve. He walked to the back but as he passed the woman “I hope you know that you just declared war on the wrong person” he whispered harshly before walking away, ignoring the woman stiff posture or wide terrified eyes. Adam followed his best friend knowing that the man was pissed and that was never a good thing.

Chas followed the two men; she needed to know if Robert Sugden was really the one responsible for bringing the smile and humanity back into her son. ‘And wouldn’t that be ironic with how much of a prat the man actually is…’ with mostly everyone gone most people went back to what they were doing while Diane placed a comforting hand on Chrissie’s shoulder. “I’m so sorry for what Robert has done to you love…” the older woman’s tone was sweet and motherly

“Diane shouldn’t you be going after and comforting your actual step-children…?”

Charity questioned sarcastically getting a few mumbled sounds of agreement from other people in the pub that made the older woman blush. “I was just being kind, it’s not Chrissie’s fault…” Diane tried to justify herself but if she was expecting support she was wrong “say what you want about us Dingles but we definitely know how to look out for our own, might want to take a page from our book.” Again Charity’s casual snide remarks got more curious looks that embarrassed Diane and made the blushing older woman walk out of the pub.

Chrissie was left alone in the middle of the pub but she was a White so she just glared at everyone that would so much as look at her before walking out with her head held high. She had to talk to her father about getting protection for Lucky in case Aaron tried something while her son recovers. ‘Broken ribs, concussion, broken fingers…oh my baby. I will make Robert and Aaron pay for what they’ve done to us.’


For days all anyone spoke about was the ‘big reveal’ of Robert cheating on Chrissie with Aaron. Robert had disappeared since the reveal assumed to be hiding out when he wasn’t trying to speak with Chrissie but the woman continued to sneer at him. Robert was desperate to get the woman back more than ever because he could hear the whispers grow louder and his father’s voice get stronger, it became like a drill in his head.

It didn’t help that when Andy found out, he lost his temper and reminded Robert more of his father’s reaction to Robert’s sexuality. “Robert!” the man had caught him on one of the rare times that he was around the village, getting coffee. When Robert turned around he was met with a fist to the face that knocked him to the floor. “Wha…?” Andy was furious, his bloodshot eyes glared at the man on the floor “Katie was right and you made everyone believe that she was crazy!”

“I’m flattered you seem to think I’m omnipotent but I’m not, I didn’t make anyone believe anything; I didn’t have to…” Robert wasn’t one to stay quiet when attacked so it was easy for him to put on the familiar mask and smirk “…the fact that Katie was obsess with my life when we were nothing made her crazy.”

Andy jumped on Robert swinging at him again, drawing an even bigger audience than they had before “it was all your fault, you ruined everything! Why couldn’t you just stay away like everyone wanted you to…!?” The anger was mixed with sorrow, Robert felt kind of guilty for Andy’s pain so he mostly blocked Andy’s hits but didn’t stop them. David and Bob stepped forward and pulled the brothers apart although they needed Rodney’s help to hold back an angry Andy.

“Don’t you dare push your martial problems on me or my presence; I have enough of my own shit to deal with to also have to deal with yours. I know you’re use to throwing your issues at others for them to solve but I hate to break it to you, I’m not Jack Sugden! I’m not going to make Andy’s monster go away and make you the saint that we both know you are not…” Robert was pissed, he wasn’t sure what came over him and based on everyone’s looks of surprise neither were they “…grow a pair and deal with your own bloody issues! Stop trying to look for a bad guy out to get you because newsflash Andy no cares about you that much!”

Robert panted before storming away, he was furious that everyone only came up to him to ask questions or attack him for fucking up. ‘Everyone in this bloody village had cheated at least once, fucking hypocrites throwing stones…!’ he was so lost in his anger that he almost missed the familiar voice calling his name “Robert!” He couldn’t deal with Aaron, he has been avoiding the man in the last few days even ignoring his calls and text.

“Aaron I’m really not in the mood.”

“Robert would you just talk to me, please.”

“What is there to talk about, you finally got what you wanted. You’ve destroyed my life!”

“Robert I never wanted this to happen, I just wanted you to see that you could be yourself. That you can have what you wanted and not settle for what you think you should have. You do know this didn’t destroy your life, you don’t have to see it that way…”

Robert was frustrated that Aaron wouldn’t let it go but even more so that the man was making so much sense and it was battling with the prime real estate that his father has had in his mind for years. It was driving him crazy “I don’t have to see it that way!?” Robert exclaimed “…look around you Aaron, you think I don’t notice the looks and whispers everyone is sending me where ever I go!?” He whispered harshly “I’m the village freak and now I’m the village freak who is also an arsehole poof that cheated on his wife!”

“You really think this didn’t ruin my life then you’re more delusional than I thought.”

“Robert the last thing I wanted was to hurt you...Tell me what I need to do to, I will do anything.”

“All I know is that you claimed to love me and you…I need you to stay away, mentally I’m not sure if I can survive your love.”

Robert walked away hiding his glossy eyes as he kept the tears at bay, despite what he said to Aaron and the anger he felt towards the man, saying those words hurt more than he wanted to admit. He missed the tears that escaped Aaron’s eyes and ran down his face as the younger man watched the man he loved walk away and leave him heartbroken. “Rob don’t leave me…” Aaron whispered softly but Robert was too far to actually hear him.


Robert might have spoken out of frustration and anger but he wasn’t lying about the whispers and looks. Days later people still stopped and stared where ever he went, even his own family was treating him like he was made of glass and any moment he will snap sending his shards flying into them. It put Robert on edge and made him irritable so it wasn’t a surprise when he began snapping at nosey villagers staring at him.

“Why don’t you buy bloody tickets to the show!?” Robert glared at Pearl who had the audacity to look offended when she was the one staring at him like he was some sideshow freak.

“Robert! Let it go, come on” Victoria pulled him away as he glared at the old lady, it hurt to see the embarrassment clear in Victoria’s eyes.

“Is he going to snap or something”

“Are we even safe?”

“Should he be in a…?”

He heard people whisper in fear as he was pulled away like Robert was some psychopath about to go on a killing spree. Robert wished that he was a psychopath cause then at least he wouldn’t care what everyone thought or said, he would just kill them and be done with it.


A few days later Chrissie had made another big scene by dumping Robert’s clothes in front of Vic’s place then setting them on fire. The woman waited until she had a crowd before pouring gasoline and lighting the clothes on fire with a satisfied smirk on her face as Robert ran out. Turns out that Lachlan got an infection and was placed in observation with a high fever that made the woman irritable and more spiteful that usual.

“Chrissie what the hell…!?” Robert exclaimed as Peritas barked in alarm “I bought all these so I get to take them away” the woman sneered as if he was a worm that she turned into a butterfly.

“I knew it!”

“Of course, Sugden only cared about money.”

“Does that make him a gold digger…?”

“That is so shameful; a real man provides for his wife…”

“Based on what we heard, Robert might not be one…”

The laugh and jokes were like daggers that seemed to fuel Chrissie’s satisfaction and Robert’s anxiety. Even worse Robert made the mistake of looking at the flames and getting lost in them. In the flames he saw his favorite floral shirt that had been a gift from his Gran and his favorite bespoke burgundy suit which was his first splurge when he got his first pay check. But beyond that he saw his mother and heard her screams. Peritas whine as he bumped Robert’s legs before pulling at his pants trying to get the man inside and away from the danger.

“What the bloody hell are you doing!? You stupid cow! Have you lost your mind!?”

Victoria ran over glaring at Chrissie, the young woman was furious and it was clear “this is a felony and I could send you to jail for this, is that what you want!?” That seemed to erase the smirk on the woman’s face as she seemed to realize the possible consequences of her rash actions. Victoria had heard Chrissie was making a scene but she didn’t expect to see a fire in front of her house and Robert looking to be in the middle of a panic attack. She was so angry seeing everyone else just standing there and staring

“And all of you, did you enjoy the show? Glad that you were all more interested in amusing yourselves than stopping MY HOUSE from catching fire and people getting hurt!”

Those watching had the decency to look ashamed of themselves while David and Adam came over with buckets to put out the fire before it could spread. Victoria rushed over to her brother “come on Rob, let’s go inside. I’ll make you some tea…” She guided her big brother inside sending the crowd and Chrissie one last menacing glare that were Robert in his full senses he would’ve been proud of.

“Alright people nothing to see here, go on…” Adam waved everyone away once the flames were out “…you, I would suggest you get out of here and stay away.”

He glared at Chrissie wanting to ring the woman’s neck; her crazy stunt could’ve been a lot worse. The fire could’ve spread and burned down Vic’s place hurting not only Robert but Vic, worse it could’ve killed Robert and then he would have a depress girlfriend and furious best friend. Inside he saw Vic trying to get a seemingly comatose Robert to drink some tea, Peritas laid on the man’s lap whining every once in a while.

‘I have a bad feeling…’


Adam was proven right the next day as they noticed that Robert laid in bed and refused to get up, the man didn’t speak or react to anything or anyone. Peritas cuddled in front of him playing the little spoon and licked his face every once in a while but never moved from the man’s side. “Just give him some time” Adam tried to assure a worry Victoria, Diane’s way of assuring the young woman was different. “Oh don’t worry love, Robert is trying to avoid the consequences of his actions like usual” even Adam with his lack of education knew that wasn’t how mental disorders worked.

“That’s not how bipolar disorder works Diane…” Vic could not believe that her step-mother would be so ignorant “…I researched it and I think Robert is going through a depressive episode.”

“Dear are you sure it’s not just Robert being Robert?”

“Of course I’m sure, why would Robert pretend to be depress…!?”

“Because that is who he is, who he’s always been; he would do anything for attention.”

They turned to see Andy walking in with a frustrated look on his face as he was left alone to his grief while the rest of his family fell for Robert’s games. Andy remembered when Robert would act out forcing Jack to drop what he was doing with Andy to go and pay attention to him. It was frustrating that it was still working “Andy, love what are you doing here? Is everything okay?” 

Diane immediately stepped forward eager to help the man “you were supposed to help me go through Katie’s things but I shouldn’t be surprised that you all fell for Robert’s game.” Andy sneered making Diane lower her head in shame; she had forgotten that she gave him her word to help with that. Victoria felt guilty for forgetting about what Andy was going through but she was not ashamed of being there for Robert.

“Mate, I think you give Robert more credit than he’s due. He’s not some evil genius mastermind…” Adam chuckled incredulously getting a glare from Andy.

“What would you know…?”

“Okay, that’s enough. No more fighting, how about we all focus on moving on and getting better.”

Like always Victoria tried to deescalate the situation especially because in his state Andy was very temperamental. Her brother has been looking for a fight at every turn, it was clear that the man was hanging on by a string. She had told Diane that her brother might need help processing his lost but Diane refused to accept that “all he needs is family” while in Robert’s case “he needs professional help Vic…” Victoria couldn’t believe that she never noticed the double standard; it was so obvious ‘was it the same with dad? Was Robert right about dad preferring Andy…?’


By the second day of Robert depression, even Diane began to worry that it wasn’t a phase. Victoria was worried that the man would get bed soars so she had to ask Adam to help her turn him over. It scared her that Robert just looked into the distance and blinked slowly, once they settled him Peritas went back to spooning his charge. “I’m worry about him Adam…”  Victoria whispered as she stared at her almost comatose big brother in bed.

“Babe, just give him time. You heard what the doctor said; we just need to wait it out.”

“…Yea, but he hasn’t eaten anything in two days!”

Robert felt like he was in space, floating in the cold among the stars. He always thought depression would be like being under water, he could deal with that. Space was something else completely, it wasn’t that darkness or the cold that bothered him but the complete isolation was suffocating yet he couldn’t get out. He saw earth in the distance but couldn’t reach it no matter how hard he tried.

Instead of stars, Robert saw words floating by almost taunting him with his past mistakes and past traumas. Most of them were his father’s words or his own words, he couldn’t figure out which was worse. Every once in a while he felt something soft against him or something wet touch his face but when he checked he was all alone. A part of him knew that he was deep in a depressive episode but a bigger part of him couldn’t do anything about it, like being lost in space with nothing to pull him back.

‘What’s the point of going back?’

“Such a disgrace”

“Robert you’re a nightmare”

“Nobody wants you here…”

“You’re so selfish! All you care about is yourself.”

Robert questioned his existence as the voices grew louder, he wondered what would happened if he ended it all. Ever since Robert was little he had always had voices screaming at him, berating him because in a small village everyone felt they had a right to scold all children running around. Everyone always pointed out what he did wrong, what was wrong with him and why he was a waste of space.

‘I was always a waste of space; no one ever wanted me…’

“That’s not true sweetheart” ‘Mum…?’

“I love you” ‘Aaron…?’

Robert wondered if two people were enough to live for but then he remembered one of them was dead and the other kidnapped him and destroyed his life. “Are you sure he did? Or did he destroy the life Jack wanted you to have?” A sweet voice whispered; it was a voice he didn’t recognize but that filled him with warmth. It was gently lowering him down “Don’t lie to the boy Pat” but then his father’s voice blew it away like a gust of wind and pulled Robert back up.

He wanted to make it all stop, Robert wanted the voices to stop; the feeling of loneliness and uselessness to go away. Robert wondered why he was cursed with a sickness on top of the already overwhelming issues he had. ‘Everyone left, they realized I wasn’t worth it and they left…’ the light of the sun pulled him in. ‘…My mothers, dad, Gran, Vic, Chrissie, Aaron…in the end I will be too much and they will give up and leave.’ Robert felt himself almost moonwalk over to the giant sun in the middle of the space of loneliness and darkness.

The sun was the only source of light pushing away the darkness and warming him up. Even better he could see the faces of his two mothers smiling at him and Robert wanted to go over to them. The sun promised to make everything go away, the pain and the hate from everyone. It promised to take him to a place where he could be with the only two people that ever cared about him. Robert was so close, he could feel the burning heat of sweet relief but just as he was going to take the final step he heard a voice break through the fog.

“ROBERT, STOP!”

(AN: I was actually going to cut it here but I remembered how much I hate cliffhangers like this and I don’t like to do to others what I don’t like people to do to me so…you’re lucky.)


Peritas knew he had a very important duty, he knew that he was not like other dogs and he was proud of that. He also knew that his human was different from the others, he could smell the sickness on him but he didn’t care because his human saved him. When he was a pup no one picked him and he could smell the sadness in the other humans at the loud place, they were going to send him to the sad place where dogs were sent when no one wanted them.

Then his human came in one day smelling sad and with the bitter scent of sickness wrapped around him. He sat down with him and Peritas knew that the human needed him; he knew that this was his human so he marked him to make sure that all the other dogs would know that this human belonged to him. He forgot that humans were so sensitive about those things but his human didn’t mind, he picked him anyways and Peritas swore to always stay by his side and protect him.

He took his job very seriously especially when the bitter scent in his human got stronger. When his human got like that he needed Peritas to protect him, like the time he had to hold his human’s hand with his mouth so that he wouldn’t use the sharp shiny thing. He also laid down on his human’s chest to stop him from getting on the chair to play with the rope he hung in the ceiling, Peritas didn’t understand human games but they seemed dangerous. When his human became unresponsive, like always Peritas laid by him and made sure that his human knew that he was there.

Then suddenly in the middle of the night his human got up and walked out, Peritas followed him as it was his duty. He didn’t like when his human left without him especially when he left him in the big house with the mean pup with a rotten scent that made Peritas nose burn. Something always happened when his human left him behind but this time his human didn’t even pay attention to him and left the door open as he left the house.

Peritas knew something was wrong because humans usually put more things on to leave the house, like the things that covered their long paws. Then his human got into the metal machine before Peritas could get in with him. He whined and scratch at the door trying to get his human’s attention but he just started the machine and left. Fortunately Peritas knew his human’s scent but he would need help.

Chas was just about to go to sleep when she heard scratching at the door “who the hell…?” she was about to give someone a piece of their mind but when she opened the door harshly no one was there. Chas was confused until she felt something furry passed by her legs and run up the stairs “what the hell was that?” She walked upstairs to see none other than Robert’s dog pawing furiously at Aaron’s bedroom door.

“Hey boy, what are you doing here?”

The dog ignored her and continued its task of scratching up her doors; it reminded her of Robert and the man’s arrogance. Before she could saying anything or stop the dog, her son’s room was opened harshly “what the bloody hell…!?” Aaron’s eyes were bloodshot and Chas wasn’t sure it was due to sleep. “Sorry love, he just came in…” she gesture to the dog that became more agitated once he saw Aaron.

“Peritas…? What are you doing here?”

Aaron knew that the dog never willingly left Robert’s side; the dog was fiercely protective of the man especially after the cabin. “What is it boy?” Peritas whined and looked around towards the stairs as if wanting to show Aaron something. ‘Shit! Something must have happened to Robert but where the hell is Vic or Adam!?’ Aaron will be furious if they let anything happened to Robert. He put on a hoodie and his running sneakers, as a last thought he grabbed his keys and phone just in case before following the dog.

“Love…?”

They were out the door before Chas could say anything to stop them, Aaron ran cross the street to Vic’s place to see the door wide open and Vic’s keys as well as her car missing. “Damn it! Robert, where did you go?” if Robert took the car he might not be able to find him on foot so he ran over to his car. He let Peritas get in before he got in and followed the path of the only tire tracks in the gravel. When the tracks ended outside the village, Aaron made a call and got one of his tech specialists to check the tracker he knows Adam placed on Vic’s car for protection, to tell him where it was.

“That car is at the side of the road, shall I send the exact location to your GPS?”

“Send it”

A few seconds later something ping and he had the location, it looks like it was on the side of the road not too far away. When they arrived the car was abandoned, with the keys in the ignition and the door open. Aaron didn’t like the image that it was all painting; he turned off both cars and looked around “Robert! Robert where are you!?” Peritas took off into the trees and Aaron followed after him, hoping that the dog knew where Robert was. It was hard to follow the dog in the dark and with all the trees but fortunately Peritas stopped every once in a while and barked.

Finally he saw the light of the moon shining through and he finally recognized where they were, it was the quarry and at the edge about to step over was a shirtless Robert in sweatpants but bare feet. “ROBERT, STOP!” he yelled running forward to stop the man, he didn’t touch him in case it spooked him. Robert seemed to be out of it but he responded to Aaron’s voice ‘more like froze mid step but I’ll take it.’

He stepped a little closer making sure to keep Peritas away from the blond man, Robert seemed to not be fully present. His beautiful eyes that made Aaron melt were glazed over as if his body was there but his mind wasn’t. “Come on Robert get away from the edge. No matter what’s going on, I promise I will solve it. I will make it all go away so please come here” Aaron tried to coax the man off the edge, for the first time since he was a kid Aaron prayed.

‘Please don’t take him away; he’s the one good thing you’ve actually given me. Damn it! You owe me.’

Robert placed his foot down back on the edge and turned to Aaron with tears running down his face.  The older man didn’t talk but he let Aaron touch him and as soon as Aaron grabbed his arm he pulled him from the edge. Robert fell into his arms and Aaron held him tight as the older man began sobbing. It was the first sound that Robert had made and it torn Aaron apart; Robert was always larger than life, absolutely nothing shook him.

“I promise I will kill anyone who’s hurt you…” 

They both fell to the floor as Aaron held a sobbing Robert, the man still didn’t speak or let out any other sound. They both held to each other for dear life, Aaron to stop Robert from being ripped away and Robert almost to keep himself grounded as if Aaron was the only thing keeping him from floating away. Peritas walked over and laid his head on Robert and Aaron’s lap in silent support. Hearing and seeing the man he loved in pain made Aaron furious and bloodthirsty; he wanted to hunt down everyone that had made the man feel this way.

For a brief moment he saw his life without Robert and he didn’t like it at all, he was dark and filled with anger. Robert was much more than his anchor, Robert was the sun that shined on him and warmed him on the dark cold days. The man was always vibrant and confident; it gave Aaron strength to be himself and the security to be vulnerable. “…I love you please don’t leave me” he begged, kissing the head of golden blond hair in a false bravado that he copied from the man in his arms.

“We’ll be alright, you’ll see. I’ll burn down the whole village if I have too but we’ll be alright.”

Chapter Text

More beast than man

When Robert was a little kid, he wanted to be an astronaut. He used to look up to the stars and wish he could see them up close and touch them. Space was this mysterious place far away from his family that he wanted to figure out. Astronauts were the coolest people in the world and he wanted nothing more than to be one of them. When he was kicked out by his father and was on his own, he fell into one of his worse depressive episode ever and suddenly space wasn’t so cool. He realized how cold and lonely it actually was and he hated it.

He wanted to keep his feet firmly on earth but once he was diagnosed, Robert realized that his trips to ‘space’ were permanent and he had become an astronaut whether he wanted to or not and he hated it. Coming down was definitely not a soft and safe landing, it was almost like the force holding him up suddenly disappeared and he was crash landing. It was jarring, like mentally falling off a cliff with nothing to grab on to, even worse he was always alone.

This time through his fall he heard soft whispers and felt a gentle touch, Robert was even more confuse because there was never a voice or touch when he came down. He also heard whining and felt coarse hair in his hands, that part was familiar; Peritas was a constant in all his states of mental instability since the moment Robert got the service dog. “It’s okay Rob, just breath. I’m here, we’ve got you” he tried to figure out who that was because they sounded so familiar. The voice warmed him, like being near the sun.

Robert saw a bright light as he started to wake up, he saw bright blue and felt a wet tongue on his hand. It all grounded him, especially the soft voice as he booted one sense at a time “that’s it, come back to me. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I’ve got you” Robert wanted to believe that voice and trust it. It made him feel safe and cared for so Robert opened his eyes to see a white ceiling ‘am I in the hospital again…?’ before Aaron’s face came from the side.

“What…? Where…?”

Robert tried to speak but his voice was not cooperating, it felt stiff and hoarse like he hadn’t used it in days maybe even weeks. “Don’t push yourself…” suddenly Aaron’s hands brought over a glass of water “…here, drink.” The man helped him by lifting his head so that he wouldn’t get more water on him than in him. The water was room temperature which helped his throat although he still didn’t have much confidence that it will work. “We’re in my apartment in Hotten…” Robert heard the hesitation in Aaron’s voice so he knew that there was something that the man was worry about telling him.

“…you had a really bad episode, Peritas came to get me and we found you before…”

Aaron stopped but Robert could see the look in his eyes and base on his old track record, Robert could guess what the younger man was going to say. It wouldn’t be the first time that Robert tried to off himself and it probably wouldn’t be the last. “I guess I should thank you” Aaron could hear the resignation in Robert’s voice and he didn’t like it, he wanted Robert to be happy to be alive. “No, at least not until you’re actually grateful” Robert was surprised by those words and the tone; there was no disapproval or reprimand in them.

Most people would turn Robert’s actions on themselves “Did you stop to think how we will feel!?” he could almost hear others say, making themselves the victims to Robert’s problems. Like Robert was selfish for being bipolar and having zero to no control over his mental state most of the time.  People always did that; unaware that it demeans what the person actually suffering from mental health is going through because something that Robert learned was that it was never about selfishness ‘…Or them for that matter.’

“Once it comes, I can’t really control it”

“I figured as much” he hadn’t realized that he said it out loud until Aaron responded “I did some research but it’s not the same reading about it than the actual experience…” Aaron turned to Robert with big soulful eyes “…so talk to me, tell me what you need, what you want, what I can do to make things easier, what I shouldn’t do…”

Robert could feel his eyes water that was a lot more than anyone had ever offered him, it fact it was the first time that anyone not a medical professional had even offer anything but quibs. Aaron pulled Robert into his arms as they laid together with Peritas snuggled up against Robert’s other side. Between the two of them there was no safer place on earth for Robert to be, the two would do anything to keep him safe both physically and mentally.

Robert didn’t want to move because he knew what waited for him on the outside, the only good thing about his depressive state was that after his brain took a while to reboot which kept all his insecurities and traumas at bay for a while and it was actually peaceful. Like the morning after a horrible storm, there was a mess everywhere but things were quiet and peaceful.

‘This is what it must feel like to be normal…’


Victoria was freaking out, she woke up and the door to her house was wide open, Robert and Peritas were gone as well as her car but the man’s shoes were at the door which could only mean that something happened to her brother and all she could think was ‘not again.’ “ADAM!” she screamed as she thought of worst case scenario, soon she heard Adam’s loud steps rushing down “what is it? What’s wrong!?” He looked around expecting a fire or some wild animal in the house.

“Robert is gone!”

Adam calmed down at the news since it didn’t seem like much of an emergency since Robert was an adult and could usually take care of himself. “Babe, I’m sure he just went out for a walk…” this did not calm Victoria down instead it just seem to agitate her “without his shoes!? My car is also gone; he was depressed Adam, I’ve read what could happen…what if he…?” Victoria’s eyes clouded over with tears as she thought of what her big brother had possibly done or was trying to do “don’t think like that. Let me call Aaron see if maybe they’re together, you know they had a thing…”

The truth was that Adam wouldn’t put it pass his best friend to kidnap Robert, he loved his friend but he wasn’t known for his finesse. If he was not with Aaron, he was sure that Aaron would move all their resources to find the man ‘hopefully before he offs himself.’ Vic stared at him in anticipation as he made the call to his best friend “What?” Aaron responded in an annoyed tone, no pleasantry “hey mate, we were wondering if you’ve seen…” Adam didn’t get to finish his sentence “He’s with me; he’s out of his episode.” That was it conversation was over, Aaron was only that curt with him when Adam’s interrupted him sleeping or getting laid.

“Okay, thanks mate”

“Well…!?”

“He’s with Aaron and he’s out of his episode.”

“Oh thank god! I swear I’m going to…”

Knowing that her brother was okay made her worry and fear turn to anger, annoyance and relief although she wouldn’t fully be calm until she actually saw her brother. Instead she kissed Adam and continued getting ready for her day and hoped that Robert would come back soon. She was also beginning to worry about his relationship with Aaron, she was positive that Adam was already lost to the Dingles’ influence but Robert she could still safe.


Unfortunately for Aaron, Robert was more himself the next day which meant that he was back on his resolve of not being together. The man woke up and showered while Peritas sat outside the shower like a loyal guard dog “…after an episode he usually doesn’t leave my side for a while…” Aaron worked on breakfast which meant ordering something. He wasn’t surprise when Adam called him but he was annoyed; he would have to apologize for being so curt with his best friend but he wanted to take advantage of the time with Robert, he was also annoyed that Robert was already pulling away from him.

Since Aaron was the one to order, breakfast was there before Robert was even done with his shower but then again he knew how much Robert loved his showers and bath so he wasn’t surprise that the man took his time. ‘Maybe I could buy him a place with an amazing tub as an apology…’ He ordered all the man’s favorite in an effort to win points with the older man. But all his efforts got was a raised eyebrow “breakfast is ready” for a few minutest Robert didn’t speak.

“No thanks, I have to go”

“Oh come on Robert, you can’t leave without something in your stomach.”

“Last time I ate or drank something from you, I was drugged so forgive me if I don’t trust it.”

Those words made Aaron physically flinch, he knew that was going to come and bite him in the arse. At the time it was necessary but now watching the distrust in Robert’s eyes, he wondered if he could’ve done things differently. “That was different, I needed you to stay put so that I could take care of things” Robert rolled his eyes continued to walk out, Aaron grabbed his arm and pulled him into his chest.

Robert was caught by surprise by the younger man’s sudden action; Robert is usually the one to take charge when they have sex that he often forgot how strong Aaron actually was, Robert wouldn’t admit it to the younger man but it was doing it for him. Robert didn’t have time to protest before warm lips crash against his.

It only took Robert a second before he was responding with the same passion and gusto. Aaron’s tongue pushed in demanding entrance which Robert freely gave, it was rare that Aaron would be so dominant and take charge in the bedroom. But in that instant Robert felt like he needed to not be in complete control, to not know everything and have all the answers.

‘Because honestly I don’t’

They were both panting when they pulled away to get some much needed air, their cheeks were flushed and their eyes dark with lust. “Tell me you no longer want me” Aaron dared the man, he didn’t promise that he would leave Robert alone if he did because he knew that the man would say it just to spite Aaron and also Aaron wouldn’t be able to leave Robert not as long as the older man’s eyes still looked at him like that.

“Aaron, wanting you was never the problem…” Robert lean his forehead on Aaron’s “…wanting to keep you was.”

“Why is that a problem? Robert he’s gone, you don’t owe him anything and he doesn’t deserve you sacrificing your happiness just to please him...Besides base on what you’ve told me it wouldn’t have worked anyways, he always found faults in everything you did, he would’ve found them in Chrissie as well.”

Robert pulled away and Aaron saw as the man’s mask was firmly slammed in place, he knew that he had pushed too far. “I’m leaving, come on Peritas” Aaron knew that moment was over but he hoped that his words would run around Robert’s head. “Aaron…” he turned to the blond “…thank you” the words might have been short and simple but Aaron knew Robert better than anyone else, the tone said it all to him.

“Thank you for being there”

“...for saving me”

“…for staying by my side”

“…for not giving up”

“…for trying”

“Thank you for loving me”

“Always”

That moment softened the blow of Robert’s rejection; it gave him hope that the man just needed time and will soon see what Aaron knows. As the door closed, Aaron could feel the darkness push up and cover him like a cold familiar blanket, so heavy it was almost suffocating but it felt like armor protecting the soft parts that others had used to hurt him. It was like when Jackson died but this time Aaron tried to fight it because he still had Robert and despite what he wanted others to believe the older man loved him.


It’s been a few weeks since the whole affair was reveal and the gossip had begun to calm down as people started talking about the body that was found by the streams near the Pavilion. The body belonged to old man Rufus (AN: this is an OC); he had been a grouchy and grumpy old man that hated everything and everyone. He mostly kept to himself but he always found a cause to go against, his newest cause had been getting Robert admitted or kicked out the village.

“He is a dangerous psychopath that could kill us all. He belongs in a madhouse…”

“If you ask me they should start lobotomizing the crazies again and just be done with it.”

The man had very archaic ways that even those close to his age didn’t support, the people mainly ignored him. They saw him a mostly harmless his he didn’t really took action; he just seemed to like to rant. Everyone was taking it all like a game of Cluedo, trying to figure out who could’ve done it but the truth was that everyone had motives. The old man had verbally attacked every single one of them at some point. The Dingles didn’t need to guess because they knew who it was, the fact that the police weren’t really investigating was proof enough.

“Aaron I though we agreed to keep the business away from the village”

“This wasn’t business, this was personal. Don’t worry I took care of it myself.”

“Have you lost your mind!? What if others get suspicious?”

“Then I would just have to take care of them too…” Chas eyes widen, she hadn’t see that coldness and darkness in her son’s eyes for a while “…No one and I mean no one is going to hurt him, is the clear!?”

Aaron waited until Chas nodded before walking away; he didn’t need to clarify who the ‘him’ was because they both knew who it was. Chas was worried since even when Jackson died Aaron hadn’t been that out of control, he at least kept things away from the village.

‘This is not good.’


Debbie was also noticing that something was different about Aaron; the man had gotten out of hand torturing a traitor and ended up killing him without getting any information from him. ‘Not for lack of trying on the traitors part’ she remembered as the man swore many times that he would talk but Aaron wouldn’t stop and no one was brave enough to stop him. In the end, the traitor had died long before Aaron stopped.

“Bring me the other one”

“Maybe I should take care of this one…” Debbie tried to intervene knowing that they really needed information and if she let Aaron do it, they won’t get shit.

“If I wanted you to take care of this one I would’ve asked you but I didn’t…” the tone was hard and cold it was only years of training and her Dingle blood that stopped her from stepping back “…now bring me THE OTHER ONE!”

The soldier jumped and rushed to do as they were told, no one wanted to be on the receiving end of that anger. Only once the soldiers were out hearing range did Debbie stepped back; she wasn’t naïve she knew that in the moment even she wasn’t safe from Aaron, she saw it in those eyes. They looked at her like a target or enemy instead of family or an ally ‘I don’t like this one bit.’

When the other man was brought in an already blubbering mess from no doubt hearing his comrade’s screams, Aaron just sighed as if he no longer had the patience to deal with it. He pulled his gun out and shot the man between the eyes killing him instantly. Debbie silently lamented the waste, now they had to look for another traitor to get information from. It was a rival gang that was poaching some of their members so they could get information on their operation and copy it.

They had caught two members, the idea was to get information out of them about who was behind the whole operation but it didn’t work that way. “Now what will we do?” Debbie asked frustrated “have a one of our honey pots go undercover and set up a meeting at their lair.” Aaron’s voice was still cold but she ignored it and focused on the work “to get information on them? It won’t be easy, with these two missing they will probably suspect and be expecting it.”

“Then get a really good honey pot or send a high ranking agent pretending to have switch sides.”

Fortunately Aaron’s plan worked, turns out that the leader had connection to one of their old underbosses that Aaron had killed. She knew how the Dingle family worked and how this world worked and she used that to her advantage. But she got arrogant and had a weakness for younger man so their honey pot had no problems getting invited to their headquarters.

It turned out that she was operating from an old abandon farm in the outskirts of Leeds “boss, what shall we do?” The farm was business as it seemed that the gang was having a party to celebrate their success, they had just poach a client from the Dingles “burn it to the ground.” The words were received with silence “but sir, our honey pot is in there and…” Aaron didn’t even blink at that “I gave you an order so unless you want to take their place you will burn it all to the ground.”

Just like that the soldier lit fire to the barn with everyone in it, killing their own soldier who had only been doing his job. Normally the boss only killed his people when they’ve betrayed the family so this was jarring for all of them. Debbie knew that the bodies are only going to continue piling up unless they got Aaron’s anchor back.


Robert has finally met his match; he always prided himself in being a stubborn SOB. When he set his mind on something, he kept to it even if it killed him. He will got through great lengths to keep on track ‘hence the trailer fire or threatening Katie’ so he was positive that he would be able to keep to his conviction of staying away from Aaron.

That lasted about two days before Robert found himself missing the younger man and searching for him in public places. A week in and he found himself going to places that the man frequented hoping to ‘bump’ into him. Then every day when he didn’t he would go home and berate himself, reminding himself he couldn’t be with Aaron.

His mind listened perfectly but his heart and body were traitorous arseholes because they called out to the man at night and when he was alone. Whenever their eyes would meet they would get stuck in a whirlwind of passion, longing and desperation. Aaron’s eyes would soften just for him and those beautiful clear blue eyes would roam his body making sure he was okay while also drinking his filled like a thirsty man lost in a desert and faced with an oasis.

The looks left Robert burning and shaking as he tried to keep his traitorous body from responding to the man. He missed the looks Chas would give them when she noticed as if she had solved some great mystery. But for Robert it wasn’t just the sexual, he missed Aaron as a friend. Over the last few weeks he had realized that Aaron had become his best friend ‘more like only friend in this village.’

Whenever he was frustrated or annoyed at something he found himself wanting to talk to Aaron about it or escape to their own little world together where they could be themselves again. Aaron was the only person he had ever been completely honest with and the only person who had stayed and wanted more despite his flaws. It was that thought that pushed him to finally accept that his relationship with Chrissie was over.

“Robert, the fact that you felt like you had to hide a part of yourself from her tells me that your relationship was over long before you came here.”

He kept hearing Victoria’s words in his head, he had told his sister why he hadn’t talk about his disorder because Chrissie hated Peritas before she knew for what his purpose was He confessed that at first he wanted her to like him but after that the family made him feel crazy, like he was some freak ‘like dad did’ he didn’t say the last part out loud. In that moment he realized that was the reason he latched on to Chrissie because she shared so many similarities with his father that he though it would’ve made the man approve of her.

“Maybe you’re just a masochist and were looking for a replacement torturer once Jack Sugden died.”

He heard a voice in his head but he ignored it, Robert was going to get the rest of his things from Home Farm and close the Chrissie chapter of his life for good. It was time to stop finding people to torture him ‘I can do that myself.’ Robert had left Peritas with Vic although neither of them agreed but his sister accepted once Robert told her that Lachlan never like the dog. Robert made sure to imply that he was worry Lachlan would do something to the animal. The truth was that he was also worried about Chrissie’s possible retaliation and he didn’t want Peritas in the line of fire.

“What the bloody hell are you doing here?”

“Chrissie, I’m not here to fight I just want the rest of my things. I know for a fact those things you burned weren’t all of it.”

“How do you know I didn’t throw them out?”

“Did you?”

“…”

Chrissie was silent for a minute as she thought; she wanted revenge against Robert for humiliating her. The fact that the man looked healthier and better didn’t ease the hate burning deep within her. Her son was still recuperating up in his room, her father had lost a few clients and she couldn’t go anywhere without people whispering. The smarmy attitude made her blood boil; it was almost as if none of this was affecting the man.

Chrissie wanted to see fear and pain in those eyes like she has felt all these days since Lachlan was taken. She wants to humiliate him like he did to her the day of their wedding or the day his affair was revealed. “You’re lucky, I haven’t had the time. Come I’ll show you where it is so that you can take them and go, hopefully to never come back.” She led the man out back to the stone shed “it’s all in there” then held her breath as he walked over.

She watched him look in before walking in; once he was inside she closed the door behind him. She made sure he couldn’t get out “Chrissie? Chrissie, are you there?” at first she kept quiet wanting to hear desperation and fear in the man’s voice. “Chrissie come on, open the door” she could hear the coolness leaving the man’s voice and it made her smile.

“What’s the matter Robert?”

“Oh thank god, Chrissie open the door.”

“Why would I want to do that? This is where you belong, locked away where you can’t hurt anyone.”

“Chrissie, I told you it’s not what you think. Just open the door and we can talk”

Robert’s voice was still too composed for her liking, she saw a gas tank to the side unfortunately it was filled with water but it would be enough to scare the man. She remembered that Robert once told her about his mother who she died in a fire and how ever since that day he had been terrify of it. While she was preparing Robert had been calling her name “Chrissie open the door! Look, I’m sorry that I hurt you. It wasn’t fair to involve you in my own issues because you didn’t deserve to be used like that but I really did care about you…”

The ‘care’ is what pissed her off; she doesn’t even get a love instead the man cared about her, the way one would care about a pet or friend. She was supposed to be his wife, the love of his life, his whole universe but no he just ‘cared’ about her. “It’s all just a game to you, isn’t? You play with everyone and use them until you’re bored.” She moved her face over to the little hole to the side where she could see Robert’s face inside the shed.

“Chrissie it wasn’t like that, please open the door.”

“Well I’ll make sure that you never get to hurt anyone again.”

She showed him the gas can and got the pleasure of seeing his eyes widened with pure terror and it made her smile. ‘Finally brought the bastard down a peg’ while she celebrated Robert panicked for a moment all he could see was bright flames and the screams of a woman. “Chrissie stop! Chrissie…!” Robert could feel a panic attack approaching but he pushed it back as the image of that night assaulted him.

The flames were so high that they touched the sky and brightened the night; he remembered thinking how pretty it looked until he heard the cries. It was a voice he had been so familiar with, he remembered it would tell him stories as it tucked him in and speak sweet words when his father hurt his feelings. The voice had made him smile and was always sweet but in that moment it was filled with fear.

“Mum!”

He had tried to rush to her but his father held him back; the screams were louder and bloodcurdling. Later he researched and learned that being burned alive was the most painful way to die. His mother had been in so much pain and he couldn’t safe her, he sometimes thought that he should’ve tried anyways and maybe they would’ve died together. But as Chrissie dose the shed in gasoline Robert was filled with terror, suddenly he doesn’t want to die this way.

Robert wants to see Aaron and tell the man that he does love him; he wants to spend more time with Vic and watch her get married ‘even if it’s with the idiot she’s dating.’ He wants to be the fun Uncle Robert that travels the world and always brings back cool presents. As Chrissie taunted him with the lighter “it’s time for you to learn your lesson Robert and pay for all the lives you’ve ruined” Robert saw the life he could’ve had flash before his eyes.

“Good bye, Robert”

He sees the lighter drop almost in slow motion and he falls to his knees and closes his eyes waiting for his fate. He prays that he dies of smoke inhalation and that it’s quick, he wonders if he would see his mother or his father because there was no doubt in his mind that they are in completely different places. Robert silently apologized to Aaron for not accepting what they’ve both known “I love you” he silently says the words hoping that they would reach the man somehow.

As he waits for the heat of the flames he hears the loud crackling laughter of his ex-fiancé, it makes him take a peek through the hole to see no flames just Chrissie laughing. For a moment he’s confuse until he sees the lighter in a puddle of what he will guess is actually water. The woman had lied to him and Robert was too relief to actually be angry.

“What’s the matter Robert? Scare of a little fire?” the taunt made him flinch

‘I knew I would regret ever sharing that with her.’

“Chrissie, please open the door.”

Robert was ashamed that his voice broke a little, he hated that he gave the woman that satisfaction. “Aw poor Robert” Chrissie continued to taunt him; she was enjoying hearing Robert so shaken.

‘I should’ve let Aaron kill you’


The Dingles were all gathered in Wishing Well cottage with the exception of Aaron and Debbie who were on a business trip. The trip hadn’t exactly been plan but it served their plans because Aaron would have suspect if they had tried to distract him. The young man wasn’t in the best mood and they all wanted to avoid his wrath. But the meeting was necessary because they needed to find a solution to Aaron’s darkness before it got worse.

Not that any of them could complain since darkness was the family business and they all had darkness in them but the key to their success was controlling that darkness. Aaron had by far the most darkness out of all of them and it was all wild and uncontrolled. It was like Abraham Dingle and they all wanted to avoid history repeating itself.

“Does everyone know why we’re all here?”

“We’re here to talk about Aaron going all psycho…again.” Of course Charity responded with her usual tact.

“The poor lad has lost his way once more” Lisa was much kinder about it and even sends Charity an unimpressed and disappointed look.

“He was fine before, what changed?” Sam asked ever confused

“He lost his anchor, again” Chas had hated to admit that Robert Sugden was her son’s anchor but when she saw how soft Aaron got in front of the man there was no doubt.

“What!?”

“Really? Who died?”

“Is it the same as with Jackson?

“Who was it?”

“Don’t tell me it’s…” Cain stared at his sister as he put the pieces together.

“It is”

“Cain you know who Aaron’s anchor is?” Moira suddenly exclaimed not happy that her husband has been keeping something from her, everyone else continued to talk at the same time.

“Everyone QUIET!”

Chas tapped into her days as the boss and commanded the room taking control of the situation and demanding silence. It had been years since she took on that persona and she was surprised that it was like putting on an old but familiar dress that was too tight in some places but still fit. With Aaron and Debbie gone, the woman was the head of the family so everyone even Charity followed the command and room was filled with silence.

“Good, now as I was saying, Aaron lost his anchor who just happens to be none other than… Robert Sugden.”

“WHAT!?”

“I knew it!”

The family once again exclaimed in unison while Charity declared with glee, she had also noticed the looks between the two or how Robert was the only one never getting one of Aaron’s famous glares. It was clear that the young Dingle was taken with the older man. Charity thought that Aaron could do better but he could also do worse ‘it’s much better than the goody two shoes that he had before.’

“Are you sure dear?”

“We’ve all seen how calm and balanced Aaron was before the whole affair was revealed. If we really think about a few weeks after Robert returned to the village Aaron had been less…”

“Psychotic?”

“…I was going to say angry but yes.”

Chas glared at Charity who simply shrugged and smiled innocently despite no one believing her. The whole family began to process Chas words, she could almost see them all going back in their memories and trying to see what she had saw.

“So what should we do…?” Lydia asked, her loyalty and devotion to the family showing through

“Isn’t it obvious? We need to get them back together.”

“Oh that should be easy enough, I mean they can’t stop eye humping each other” Faith added with at suggestive eyebrows wiggle and a grin.

“It’s not that easy, we need to convince Robert to forgive Aaron for practically kidnapping him on his wedding day…”

“And come out of the closet” Charity added to Chas’ statement, they have all heard Robert deny over and over again that he was not gay.

“That won’t be easy; we all know how stubborn Sugdens can be” Cain spoke up already annoyed with the situation and their new task of playing cupids.

“Yes but Aaron is family and as his anchor so is Robert, for family we will do whatever it takes” Belle spoke for the first time that night usually she kept quiet but now that she was older her parents were letting her be more involve in the family business and she wanted to proof that she could take it because she was a Dingle.

“I couldn’t have said it better myself…” Faith smile at the young girl “…besides have you all seen the sexual tension between those two? I wouldn’t be surprise if we’re not even needed or at the very least all it takes is a nudge.”

“Whatever it is we have to do it before Aaron recreates the Valentine’s Day massacre (Author Note: Valentine’s day massacre was in 1929 the very famous and public murder of seven members of a gang in Chicago set up by Al Capone.)


Aaron was happy to be back in the village, getting messages and pictures on his phone about what Robert was doing and with who wasn’t as reassuring as actually seeing the man with his own eyes, even if the updates came every few minutes. Debbie had send him a look every time his phone pinged with a notification but she didn’t say anything although they both knew that she was aware who was messaging him and what they were sending him.

After the affair came out Aaron made no secret about his pursuit of Robert, Debbie had known that Aaron had placed one of their best spies on Robert to keep track of the man every time Aaron left the village. He was to be updated every second but the spy was not allowed to interfere unless the man was in danger. Aaron knew Robert would never forgive him if he found out Aaron had someone spying on him.

Even if the spy only watched and followed him when Aaron wasn’t in the village “what difference those that make, spying is spying.” Aaron could almost hear Robert’s voice exclaim in anger ‘no, better that he never finds out at least for now, maybe after we’re together…’ Aaron knew that Robert had gone over to Home Farm to get the rest of his things; he had seen the man drive over there.

He had wanted to follow the man but he was already on thin ice with the older man so he decided to let that go. He walked into the pub ignoring his mum’s overeager expression; in a corner booth he saw Debbie and Pete together. That was a relationship that surprised him, he felt bad for not noticing that they had been dating until Debbie brought him up. As the head of the family Aaron had to approve and could reject the choice of partner from anyone in the family.

It could seem archaic but as the boss, Aaron wasn’t just the head of the business, he was also the head of the family. It was his job to protect both and to make sure that nothing or no one could jeopardize what they have built. Some bosses were more strict than others, Aaron didn’t care about who anyone slept with but as soon as it became serious and they were about to be brought into the family then he needed to know.

That was why he walked over and grabbed a chair to sit with Debbie and Pete, he saw the brief worry in the woman’s eyes while Pete just looked confuse. “Do you mind mate…?” Pete tried to get him to leave them alone “you know…I do mind actually.” The response surprised the older man while all the Dingles that were in the pub froze. They all knew this was coming but in the state Aaron was in they worried it would not end well.

Charity worry about her daughter and what would happen, she knew that Debbie really loved Pete but she also knew that if Aaron rejected the man than she would have no choice but to follow his lead. They would all have no choice but to follow his lead ‘where the hell is Sugden when you need him!?’ “Aaron, what the…!?” Debbie gently touch Pete’s arm getting his attention and cutting him off.

“Aaron, love how about you come to the bar and I’ll have Marlon bring you one of his famous burgers”

Chas stepped forward trying to distract her son, she was hoping that they would get Robert and him together before throwing Pete to the wolf. Pete was so confuse, he knew the Dingles were weird but even for them this was a new level. He had always known that Debbie and Aaron were close; the two were always together so he figured that the younger man was just protecting his cousin. That was normal to him but what was strange was everyone else’s reaction almost as if Aaron was about to explode.

“What’s going on? Is this the ‘hurt her and I’ll kill you’ talk?”

Aaron sends his mother a hard glare making her step back before turning back to Pete “you could say that, except that Debbie can take care of herself.”

“Then what is this?”

“This is not about protecting Debbie but the family, if you’re going to be joining us I have to see if you make the cut”

Everyone in the village knew that the Dingles were dodgy but it was normal for all those that grew up in the village. Pete knew that two of his brothers worked with the Dingles and that Adam was even Aaron’s best mate.

“I’m not really interested in the family ‘business’ but I love Debbie so I’m fine with letting you do your thing just don’t expect me to become your lackeys like Ross or Adam.” Both Chas and Debbie looked at him like he was suddenly a dead man walking; Debbie looked almost heartbroken as if she was mourning his death.

He saw Aaron’s eyes darken; it wasn’t his words that bothered him but the tone. To Aaron, Pete sounded like he believed that because he wasn’t a ‘thug’ that he was above them ‘he was too good for the family business.’ He wanted to strangle the man and show him how beneath him Aaron really was. Debbie could almost see Pete’s death in her cousin’s eyes and she knew she had to do something if she wanted to marry the man.

“Aaron…”

“Love…” Chas seemed to have thought the same thing as she tried to speak at the same time.

But then Luck was on their side “Sugden!” as they heard Charity exclaim, they all turned to see Robert walking into the pub. The man ignored the woman’s exclamation and looked around, something seemed off about him. His eyes landed on Aaron and he seemed to send a message that only the blue eyes man understood because he immediately got up and walked to the back room.

Everyone watched as Robert followed after him not really looking anywhere, if they had doubts about the blond being Aaron’s anchor that interaction had just proven it. Debbie was just happy that Pete was safe and she had time to speak to the man and prepare him although she couldn’t tell him everything without Aaron’s approval.


“What happened?”

Aaron demanded to know once they were alone in the backroom; since Robert walked into the pub he could see a fear and vulnerability in the otherwise strong man’s eyes. To others it might not be obvious but Aaron knew Robert and he knew that something had shaken the man. Ever since meeting him nothing ruffle Robert Sugden at least not this bad and it pissed him off that someone had made the man he loves feel that way. Instead of a response Robert rushed into his arms and buried his face in Aaron’s neck holding him tightly.

Aaron was caught by surprise but it didn’t stop him from wrapping his arms around the taller man and holding him just as tightly. This only worried him more as Robert has been treating him like he had the plague since the affair was reveal. Although he couldn’t help but close his eyes in content as he felt the man’s warmth after so long and almost got lost in the scent of the posh shampoo he used.

‘God I’ve missed this so much’

He wanted to pull Robert into a kiss and have the man fuck him but he knew it wasn’t the time. Something had happened to the older man and he needed to know what it was so he could destroy it so that it would never happen again. “Rob, tell me what happened? You’re worrying me, is there someone I have to take care of?” That got him a respond in the form of Robert shaking his head without moving it away from Aaron’s neck.

Aaron somehow maneuvered them onto the sofa and sat down without separating, he didn’t want to separate from the blond man either. This was more of the blond than he has gotten in the last few weeks and he wanted to savor it. He saw his mother peeking through the door and he sent her a vicious glare that sends her away before Robert noticed. “Where’s Peritas?” Aaron just noticed that the dog was missing and that worried him even more ‘did something happened to the dog?’

“Vic’s”

“Robert, why did you…?”

“I didn’t want to take him there, I don’t trust them.”

He remembers what Robert implied and what he got out of Lachlan, it made sense that the man would want to keep his dog away from a psycho that had hurt the dog before and a spiteful woman that wants to hurt him. ‘I wouldn’t put it pass her to use the dog to hurt him’ Aaron also thought that whatever happened had something to do with the Whites ‘if they did anything…’ He had gone easy on the woman before because he was already in trouble with Robert and he didn’t want to make it worse.

‘But if she’s hurt him all bets are off’

“Did they do something…?”

Robert flinched and Aaron had his answer but he saw as the blond put his walls up and he knew that wasn’t getting anything from the man. Even worst Robert pulled away “it’s just been a difficult few days and I just needed…” Robert looked at him and in those eyes he saw all he needed to see “then I’m here. Whatever you need, I’ll be here to give it to you.” Aaron pulled the man into his arms, taking advantage of the fact that Robert was letting him get close and even touch.

‘I’ll make it all disappear, I promise’

Chapter Text

More beast than man

For the next few days Aaron suspicions were confirmed when he noticed that Robert wasn’t chasing after Chrissie anymore and begging for her forgiveness like before. In fact the man seemed to be avoiding the woman like the plague although he was very good at hiding it from everyone but Aaron knew him better than that. Aaron could read Robert like a book he read all his life and memorized word for word.

Aaron also noticed that when the two were in a room together Robert didn’t take his eyes off the woman and it wasn’t like before; he didn’t stare at her like a guilty puppy. Instead Robert stared at her like scared puppy almost worry the woman would lash out and attack him ‘that was definitely new.’ Aaron even saw the older man flinch on a few occasions when Chrissie got too close, the woman for her part just smirked at the man enjoying his reaction.

Aaron hated it so he made sure to glare at the woman every time their eyes met to remind her of his earlier warning. He enjoyed watching the woman flinch and run off, she avoided him and Robert for a few days before she went back to her pettiness. Aaron decided to prepare to destroy the Whites for when Robert was ready to bring down the family because he knew the day would come; Aaron knew his Robert very well and he was deliciously devious so there was no doubt it would come. He had one of their best hackers look into the woman and her family as well as the business for dirt.

“I want everything from the obvious to their deepest darkest secrets…”

His soldiers worked fast and in matter of days he had more than he would ever need to ruin the family. He had the charges filed against Lachlan for rape and assault, the mysterious disappearance of their dog Doug after that, he had Lawrence’s arrest records and his history with Pearl ‘now that is fascinating, what a hypocrite.’ He found out the truth about Chrissie’s history with Lachlan’s father and much more than that.

‘The family had more dirty than a manure farm after a rainstorm.’

At the end of the day all the information was just a precaution, in case Robert still refused to let Aaron get rid of them permanently like he wanted to from the very beginning. Instead Aaron had to settle for a scheme worthy of the King of schemes himself, Robert Sugden. Preparing for war against the Whites had to take a back seat when Debbie came to him about Pete.

Aaron didn’t think that the man was right for the family, Pete unlike Ross and Adam didn’t have any darkness, in fact the man was an upstanding citizen. He seemed like the guy that would try to steer them towards the light and straighten them out or at least judge them. “Come on guys you’re better than this” Aaron could almost hear him “I can’t believe you would do this…” and just the thought made him roll his eyes. Aaron had no personal problem with the man but as the boss of the biggest underworld empire, he can’t approve of the man mainly because he didn’t think the man would cut it in their world and their not planning to change anytime soon ‘or at all, every Dingle is going down with this ship. We have all made our bed and we’re perfectly fine with lying in it.’

Even though a significant other to a Dingle didn’t have to be part of the family business but they at least had to accept it and support their partner. They needed to know how important the job was and accept that danger was a part of their life. He doesn’t think Pete would be able to do that, falling in love with a Dingle was like falling in love with a demon and Pete was more of an angel or at least closer to a saint.

‘Those relationships never really last, the light and dark always battle for dominance; one of them will win out.’

He told Debbie as much and he could see the fear in the woman’s eyes as she waited for him to reject Pete, putting an end to their relationship. “I don’t approve of him knowing let alone joining the business…” Debbie lowered her head; as much as she wanted to fight the situation she knew it was useless, in their family the boss’ words were law. This was how the family has done things since Abraham Dingle first started it all; in fact she knows that they are lucky Aaron is nowhere near as bad as other boss had been.

Aaron didn’t really care who the family dated until it became serious even Chas when she was in charge always needed and demanded to know everyone’s personal business. “…with that being said, I want you to be happy and if he makes you happy then you have my blessing to marry him.”  Debbie was shock and confused “what…? But you just said…”

“I know what I said, you can marry him but you can’t tell him about the family business. I don’t trust that he would be able to handle it, he might be devoted to you and the kids but when it comes to the business, he’s a flight risk that I’m not willing to bet on.”

Debbie was surprised by the words, she knew that Aaron was giving her a choice; either live a lie with Pete or live without him. It was a choice that she didn’t want to make because either way she could lose. But she wanted to be with Pete and see if they could work, hopefully if they did Aaron would eventually accept the man or at least Pete would earn the younger man’s approval.


Robert wasn’t stupid; in fact despite his attitude to others he was actually really good at reading people. He knew when someone was lying, scheming or just up to something so he knew Chas was up to something when the woman kept calling for him then leaving him with Aaron as soon as he arrived. The rest of the Dingles were also being weirder than usual, Sam kept bringing up crimes ‘casually’ and waiting for his reaction.

“You should probably keep that to yourself.”

Marlon kept bringing him dishes “from Aaron” even though Robert knew that it wasn’t from the younger man. Lydia and Lisa kept mollycoddling him making sure that he ate or glaring at Chrissie anytime the woman looked like she wanted to start something. Adam kept telling him how bad Aaron felt for what he did “it’s eating him up mate.”

None of them were very subtle so he knew that the Dingles were up to something and if he didn’t have enough trouble on his hands he would try to find out what. Instead he mostly ignored them but the attention from the Dingles had gotten his own family’s attention. So he wasn’t surprise when they brought it up at one of their ‘family’ dinners “I see you and the Dingles are getting close. Are you and Aaron back together?” Victoria had asked ‘subtly’ after Robert had escape another of Sam’s stories ‘or confessions not sure which one I prefer, if any.’ “What are you talking about?” He decided to play dumb and ignore the implication because he wasn’t ready to talk about that with his sister.

“Well, you seem to always be talking with one of them…”

“More like they’re always talking to be, you’re snooping is getting rusty or else you would’ve notice that they’re the ones being weird and talking to me. I have nothing to do with that family”

“Good, because that family is dodgy and a bad influence…” Diane chimed in with her typical disapproving mother look that Robert was beginning to hate with a passion.

“Oh come on, look at who you’re talking to” Andy added with the glare that had seem to become a permanent fixture on his face, Robert doesn’t even know why he bothered coming to the family dinners.

“Hey! That’s not even funny; Robert is nothing like the Dingles…” it did warm his heart to hear his sister defend him in front of the rest of their family “…Besides we all know that’s not true…”

“…”

“…But Robert, Diane is right; you should stay away from the Dingles they are dangerous.”

“Don’t they run their own business which I heard is very successful?”

“Yet they’ve all been locked up or have gotten in trouble in some way.”

“Really…?”


The wedding of Debbie Dingle and Pete Barton had everyone in Emmerdale filled with excitement. It was a stark different from what they’ve had before with Katie’s death, the White wedding that never happened, the reveal of the affair or the reveal of Robert’s disorder. It has all been bad news and drama so to get one good, happy event was a breath of fresh air even for those that love the drama.

The preparations were a lot happier and down to earth than Chrissie’s elegant and almost pretentious wedding. It fit the small village much better, it also helped that the ones getting married were one of their own. Debbie went with a summers day almost town fair kind of feel, it was all soft pastels and bright flowers. It felt like a carnival in the middle of an enchanted forest and everyone was excited even more because they felt welcomed and included instead of the dirty urchins that watched from the outside.

There was no doubt that the Dingles knew how to throw a good party and the people of Emmerdale loved nothing more than a good party or any reason to drink. Robert was just happy that his drama was no longer taking center stage. This way he could focus on what had been plaguing his mind since talking to his family and that was finding out the secret behind the Dingles.

He took advantage of everyone’s distraction with the wedding preparations and that for the first time in months his head was clear and normal ‘or as normal as I could ever get’ to think about every interaction between Aaron and other people. The younger man was grumpy and solemn most of the time; he glared at people and kept them away like every other introvert.

With his family, Aaron was softer yet not soft by normal standards. The man was still closed off around them yet more himself than with others. But even then it always seemed like he was hiding part of himself from them. Then there was the flat that the man had, it was clearly expensive more than a simple scrapyard’s earning couldn’t cover.

‘But then again it could be explained away by the contracting business that he told me he runs for the family.’

Then Robert thought about Katie’s death and the officer that responded to the scene, he treated and almost looked at Aaron in reverence almost as if Aaron was their boss or God. ‘Need to tell Aaron to train his lackeys better, they’re not very discreet’ Robert knew there was something wrong with him if after learning that Aaron was dodgy his first thought was to help the man hide it. Going back to his thought Robert realized that Aaron couldn’t be a simple thug ‘simple thugs don’t have coopers in their pockets even the dirty cops don’t treat simple thugs like that.’

It was more difficult to think about the next part, the cabin or his kidnapping. Again the cabin could be explained away by the money from his legal business ‘but then he had someone spying on me and that is not something that a simple thug can do unless it’s a friend.’

Robert then thought about what Aaron did to Lachlan, Robert knew that it would’ve taken finesse and connection for Aaron to pull it off without getting caught or having the Whites and cops on his arse. Then there was Chrissie’s clear fear of the man, his closeness with Adam and Debbie, all the trips he took for ‘business’ but most of all the villagers caution yet respect of the family.

‘It was almost like a…’

“Sugden…!”

Robert turned to see Chas Dingle jogging after him; Robert raised an eyebrow at the woman’s smile. ‘Now this is interesting…’ the woman never liked him ever since he was a kid and his flirted with her to impress his mates about having an older woman but then lost interest when his father slapped the hell out of him for even looking at a Dingle. “No child of mine will step foot near that trash family” Robert could almost feel the sting on the man’s hand again.

‘If only you could see me now…’

Ever since then Chas had been spiteful, the whole family had hated him for playing with their princess. Then the woman became friends with Katie and she suddenly had another reason to hate him or at least to fuel her resentment. Robert never paid her much mind but he remembers that Chas was a fierce tomboy that could put the fear of god into any men or women.

“Chastity, to what do I owe this pleasure?”

The woman glared at him and took a deep breath almost as if asking someone for patience and strength not to straggle him. It made Robert smirk; he got a pleasure at seeing the reaction he can provoke in people. “We need to talk” Robert raised an eyebrow, they’ve never had anything to talk about “about what precisely? Last time I check we had nothing in common.” Chas rolled her eyes as if he was been obviously obtuse “you know damn well we have something very important in common, you have been sleeping with my son after all.”

Chas saw as Robert straightened up and could almost see the walls fall firmly in place as the man closed himself off. “Unless you’ve also been sleeping with your son which…” Robert made a disgusted face “…There is nothing to talk about because that is none of your business” Robert walked away but Chas rushed over and got in front of him blocking his way. “Trust me we do…” she could see the clear intrigue in the man’s eyes. “…don’t you want to know about the other part of Aaron?” Chas smirked and raised an eyebrow as she saw the moment she won the man’s complete attention.

“I’m listening”

“Not here, let’s go somewhere more…private.”

“Why do you need to do that…” they both turned to see Aaron standing there “…and can I join, it sounds like something interesting.”

The last part was said in a cold tone that had Chas flinching and Robert shivering for two completely different reasons. Aaron’s icy blue eyes stabbed Chas with so much cold and deadly fury that it made the woman almost physically feel it. “Aaron love, we were just talking…” Chas tried to pacify the man “oh I heard, seems like you had something very important to tell Robert, mother.” The ‘mother’ part was spat out and Chas knew that she was in trouble; she might have gone too far.

“I really don’t have the time or mental capacity to be involved in the Dingle family drama…”

Robert spoke out loud getting the attention of the two Dingles and freeing Chas from the hard stare of her son’s icy eyes. “…I have my own issues to deal with and your dodgy family business is not one of them.” Robert lied before walking away mainly because he didn’t want either of them to notice that the assertive tone in Aaron’s voice was doing things to him; Aaron stared after the man like a puppy watching its human walk away. Chas could see the love and sadness in her son’s eyes and then suddenly she was hit with a revelation

‘Robert isn’t Aaron’s anchor; he’s his humanity…bollocks!’

Aaron turned to the woman after a few minutes and glared at her; he grabbed her arm hard and pulled her away. Chas exclaimed in pain, there was no doubt that there would be finger shaped bruises on her arms. Aaron pulled her behind some trees and for a moment Chas was sure that her own son was going to murder her especially when Aaron slammed her into a tree.

“I want family to be sacred and despite how annoy you make me, I have tried very hard to not let my temper touch any of you…” Chas couldn’t help but shake slightly “…but you keep making it very hard for me by getting into my personal business.”

“Aaron, I…”

“What were you going to tell Robert?”

“I just…” Aaron slammed his fist by Chas’ head making the woman close her eyes in fear and cutting his hand on the bark but the man didn’t paying attention to it.

“What were you going to tell Robert!? Don’t make me ask again, I have reached the end of my rope.”

“Aaron, I just wanted to help…He needs to know what he’s getting into…”

Aaron turned away giving a loud furious cry before punching a tree over and over again, terrifying Chas even more. She waited until her son stopped ignoring his bloody fist, a part of her was happy that Aaron was hitting a tree instead of her ‘maybe I do mean something to him.’ It was another proof that her son was not a psychopath after all. When Aaron finally stopped she stepped forward slowly almost like approaching an injured predator ‘because basically I am, actually I think approaching a wolf would be less terrifying.’

“Aaron love, I know that sometimes I am selfish and intrusive but it’s never meant to hurt you…” Aaron was silent which Chas took as a queue to continue talking “…you know that if you want something serious with him, he has to know…”

Suddenly the bloody hand reached out and wrapped around her neck taking the woman’s breath away. As he turned around Aaron’s eyes were completely blank and that scared her more than the anger because the blankness meant that he didn’t care enough to not kill her. “You will do no such thing because if you do, I will personally kill you.” Chas’ eyes widened “I’m…mother…”

“You left me in hell, sacrificing me to the devil so that you could live your own life free from the responsibility of raising a child.” Chas flinched at the reminder “the only thing keeping me from killing you is sentimentally but I can life with your murder on my hands, not with losing Robert.

Aaron dropped the woman making her cough and pant desperately to get some much needed air into her lungs. “You and everyone else will keep their mouth shuts or I will sew them shut. If I see any of you trying to talk to Robert, death would be a sweet escape compare to what I will do to you. Don’t make me turn into Abraham” Chas feels herself shake in terror at the mention of the infamous first Dingle boss, the man who had turned into a practical bogeyman in the underworld.

“You will...never be…”

“Without Robert…I will.”


The two Dingles stared at each other in silence, both processing the severity and honesty in the statement. They were both unaware that Robert had figure out more than they wanted him to and had already put the pieces to the Dingle family secret together. Even more, the man wasn’t as bothered by the revelation as he was expected to be.

The day of the wedding everything was bright and sunny; for once the weather was warm for Northern England spring. Everyone was in high spirits for the grand event expect for four people that were lost in their own misery. Aaron was sulking for Robert, Chrissie was angry at both men, Robert had a lot on his mind and Chas was a mixture of worry and terrify about Aaron’s erratic temper.

Chrissie still wanted revenge and she wasn’t satisfied with what she did to Robert, especially when she saw that the man was avoiding her hence taking away the pleasure she got from watching him flinch. Her father insisted that she let it go “the Dingles are dangerous, it’s not worth starting a feud with that family…” but she couldn’t. Aaron had hurt her baby and Robert had humiliated her, neither of them should get to be happy.

She didn’t even want to see them together ‘Aaron shouldn’t get what belonged to me until I say so.’ Chrissie might have ended her relationship with Robert but it wasn’t on her terms, the man forced her hand. She got an opportunity when she saw Robert’s car turned towards the scrapyard ‘most likely going to see Aaron.’ The confirmation that Robert and Aaron were still seeing each other while she suffered in humiliation, made fury burn hot inside her and blind her to all rational thought.

Chrissie quickly walked away ignoring the wedding guest in their Sunday best heading over to the big event that had started. All she could think about was invoking that terror in Robert’s smarmy face again, to watch the man grovel. Even better Chrissie knew for a fact that Aaron wasn’t in the scrapyard as she had seen the man in the Village Hall for the ceremony.


Robert had parked outside the scrapyard unaware of the storm heading his way; he was looking for some answers about Aaron. He was sure that the scrapyard was a front for something not so legal; either he hoped to see what the younger man was hiding in the scrapyard or find information about the not so legal business.

He could hear the telltale signs of Scrappy barking from far away, he remembers Aaron told him that when they have clients they usually put the dog in the back since he tended to attack them. Peritas’ ears perked up at hearing the other dog but the service animal stood by Robert’s side wearing his service dog vest for the first time in the village since their arrival. The German Shepard seemed almost proud of himself for almost earing the vest back, as if he had done something wrong for Robert to have taken it away.

Robert felt horrible about that, he never thought about the dog and how Robert’s desperation to hide his disorder may have affected the animal. Victoria was the one to push him to let the dog wear the vest “Robert he is there to help you and give you independence, you have to let him do his job not make it harder for him…” The woman had gotten on his case when she saw the vest packed among his things and Robert confessed why he didn’t put it on the dog.

By his side Peritas barked almost as if telling Scrappy that they were the ones there and not to worry. Scrappy barked back but his tone was different, like the dog was saying that it was okay for them to enter. Then Robert realized that he was reading too much into the dogs barks ‘I’m losing my mind…or at least the little I have left’ “Come on Peritas, let’s see what we find” Robert parked near the port-a-cabin by some canisters; he saw a beat up car to the other side but ignored it.

As Robert gets closer he see a camera outside the cabin and curses out loud, he threw a rock nearby and was happy to see that the camera was motion sensor. If he could create a distraction on one side then he could enter while the camera was turn away. With Peritas helped, Robert was able to get into the cabin while the dog distracted the camera.

He cautiously looked around making sure there was no camera first before he got to work, he didn’t want someone to recognize Peritas on the cameras and tell Aaron. He could hear the dog running around, having the time of his life playing chase with a camera. ‘Oh to have the simplicity and innocent joy of a dog’ Robert checked first the desks but they were cleared so he checked the drawers. They had a few things but overall nothing of use to him.

Robert figured that if he were to find anything it would be in the filing cabinets that were locked “Fan-bloody-tastic!” It was just his luck that he makes it that far just to be foiled by a locked cabinet. Robert looked around trying to find something to open the cabinet with when he heard Peritas barking outside, it wasn’t the dog’s normal bark or his playful bark. The dog was barking at someone in clear ‘back the fuck off’ hostility.

A part of Robert let out a breath of relief because that meant that it wasn’t Aaron, Peritas seems to like the younger man for some reason. He looked out the window to see Chrissie trying to shoo the dog away ‘what the…?’ The man sent a forlorn look to the filing cabinet before walking out “get back you mutt!” His ex-fiancé exclaimed and he turned to see her waving a pipe at his barking dog, Robert ran over before the woman was able to do any damage to his companion.

“Chrissie, what are you doing here?”

“Control your mutt!”

“He usually gets that way when there’s a bitch nearby” Robert spat out channeling the smarmy prat everyone loves to hate.

Chrissie glared at the man and Robert had to use all his self-control to stop himself from flinching at the woman. “How dare you…! After what you’ve done to me, you should be groveling at my feet.” Robert rolled his eyes, Chrissie always wanted people to worship her and he was just never the worshipping type ‘I’m hardly the type to worship some omniscient being let alone an arrogant woman.’

“I said I was sorry Chrissie and I know what I did was wrong but I can’t spend all my life kissing your arse just to appease your ego.” Chrissie cheek burned bright red as her fury got fueled by the man’s disregard for her pain.

“You bastard…!”

The slap surprised him but the sting didn’t, he blinked trying to process what happened but Chrissie was already going in for more but a furious and growling dog got between her and the blond man. Peritas was a terrifying sigh ‘if that mutt so much as touch me, I’ll have him put down.’ Neither of them noticed that between the woman’s yelling and the sound of skin hitting skin, Adam had woken up from his drunken sleep in the old car. The man was disoriented so it took him a few minutes to get his bearings but once he did he was able to hear a woman’s voice.

As he got up his blurring eyes saw two figures gesturing wildly as they argued well the woman seemed to be doing most of the talking. ‘Is that Aaron’s bloke…?’ as his vision cleared he was able to see that the two people were none other than Robert Sugden and Chrissie White. Adam saw the man’s bright red cheek and was immediately on alert ‘Aaron won’t be too happy about that’ he tune into the conversation.

“You say it’s over yet your still here so what do you want from me Chrissie!?”

“I WANT YOU TO SUFFER!”

“You burned most of my clothes in front of my sister’s house almost setting it on fire; you locked me in a shed and threatened to set me of fire, playing with a trauma that you clearly knew I had; you’ve continued to torment me where ever I go, don’t you think you’ve made me suffer enough” Adam’s eyes widen ‘Aaron is definitely not going to be happy about any of that.’

“NO! I was still humiliated in front of the whole village; my friends all stared at me with pity, most don’t even want to be associated with me…”

“No amount of suffering will change that, it already happened. I can’t turn back time and for the other thing, get better friends…”

“You bastard…! My son was still beaten by your boy toy!”

“That wasn’t on me! Contrary to popular believe I don’t actually control Aaron. Do you want me to say I’m sorry, again…?”

Chrissie made a sound of disbelieve and turned away from the man, she saw a canister can and she got an idea especially when looking at the pristine white car that she gave the man, Chrissie smirked “no, I want you to feel it.” Robert rolled his eyes as the woman walked away hoping that it was all over, this meant that he missed Chrissie grabbing the canister.

He turn to see Chrissie pouring liquid from a canister on his car but Robert wasn’t falling for that trick again and giving her the satisfaction of seeing him scare. “Not this again, I’m not falling for that trick anymore” Robert rolled his eyes as the woman switched the lighter “this is different, watch carefully you selfish prick because this is a trick you’ll never forget.” Chrissie threw the lighter on the car and to Robert’s shock it ignited. Chrissie grinned like loon as Robert tried to put the fire out

“You crazy bitch…!”


Adam was busy trying to expel everything in his stomach to notice what was going. Robert made sure to keep Peritas away from the flames before turning to the woman and berating her for being an immature and irresponsible cow. They both missed the fire spreading to the big canisters near Robert’s now in flamed car before the large explosion literally blew them away.

The first thing Robert did was frantically look for Peritas but he didn’t need to as the dog was already licking his face before he was fully up. Chrissie was sitting a few feet away from him in shock and terror as she began to realize what she had done. Robert wanted to rub it in her face as the fire spread and caught the junk car as well but he had to leave before he got blamed for the explosion or worse Aaron found him there.

‘No doubt someone saw or at least heard that’

Suddenly a black blur flashed by him and headed for the flames, the barking was what identify it. Scrappy had somehow gotten out of where he was kept and was barking at the junk car being engulfed in flames. The dog was barking frantically at the car and risking getting burned to get something inside. “Scrappy what are you…?” on closer look Robert saw someone inside the car and his eyes widened.

Robert tried to get close but the flames and his own fears kept him away, but when Robert realized that it was Adam he knew that he couldn’t let anything happen to the man. The man not only was his little sister’s boyfriend but also Aaron’s best friend, at least just to himself Robert will admit that they are the two most important people in his life and he didn’t want them to suffer a loss that he could avoid.

He took off his jacket and wrapped it around his hand to try and pull the car door open, a frantic Scrappy by his side tried to help. For a brief moment Robert wondered where Peritas was but then he focused back on his task, he could hear Chrissie screeching something that he ignored ‘don’t focus on the crazy cow.’ Robert felt the heat on his hands and arms, no doubt it was going to be raw if not burnt but he ignored it.

‘Aaron and Vic would never forgive me if I let him die.’

It was a struggle to get through the flames as every instinct told him to get away and he was fighting a big part of himself. Robert pushed through and grabbed Adam pulling him out of the car with Scrappy’s help. The younger man was coughing as Robert and Scrappy drag him away from the flaming car just as it also exploded. Peritas came over and licked Robert all over almost as if making sure that he was okay.

“I’m okay bubby, thanks for checking.”

Robert heard the sirens and he walked over to see the large mushroom cloud coming from the village, the helicopter probably crashed somewhere. He turned to a frozen Chrissie “are you happy? Was your revenge worth it?” the woman opened and closed her mouth almost trying to speak but nothing would come out. The ambulance stopped in front of the scrapyard and Robert led them to Adam, they wanted to take him to and treat his irritated hands but he denied their treatment.

Robert ran to the village with Peritas, not noticing that Scrappy was running along with him. He also didn’t notice that Chrissie was running behind them as well but he was focused on one thing only. They stopped dead in their tracks at seeing the Village Hall with a helicopter sticking out the roof and some people outside trying to escape.

“Vic! Aaron!”

Robert didn’t have time to think instead he got to work in finding the two people that mattered most to him. He didn’t think about his anger at Aaron or his hurt at Vic’s lack of support at the beginning, Robert just though about the possibility of never seeing them again and that was not an option ‘at least not one I want to live with.’


After the crash, the village was mourning the dead while also trying to heal fortunately the ceremony had just finished when the crash happened so the Hall was mostly empty. Debbie was badly hurt while a few others had minor injuries so the Dingles were all in the hospital presenting a united front. Aaron, while enjoying the fact the Robert was worry about him, was more interested in knowing what caused the crash. Even more suspicious, when he asked Robert flinched and made an excuse to go check on Victoria.

But he didn’t have to investigate or search much for answers, he found out that Adam was in the hospital and rushed over to his best friend. Victoria was already there by his best friend side, fussing over him “I thought you went off to sleep off the drunkenness…?” Victoria was just as confuse as Aaron was but unlike the woman Aaron saw the shift in Adam’s eyes there was something the man didn’t want to say in front of her.

“A car caught fire in the scrapyard, I’m just lucky your brother was passing by…”

“Thank god, Robert was there.”

“Yea, actually can you find him, I want to thank him”

“I’ll stay with him until you come back”

Victoria hesitated for a second before nodding at Aaron and running off leaving the two men alone. Aaron waited for a few minutes before stepping forward “okay, now tell me what really happened?” Adam proceeded to tell Aaron everything that happened and everything he heard; by the end Adam could see his friend’s eyes turned blank.

Adam knew that in Aaron that was more dangerous than outright anger, that blank look meant that someone was going to be horribly torture before dying. Adam wasn’t able to ask anything since Vic came in dragging a reluctant Robert behind her. “He just wants to thank you…” Peritas a firm presence by the man’s side “I told you it was not necessary, I just happened to be walking by…”

“Still, if it wasn’t for you I would be a goner so thanks mate.”

“Thank Scrappy; he was the one that told me you were there.”

“I’ll buy him a big juicy steak”

Robert could feel Aaron’s gaze firmly on him but he didn’t look as much as he wanted to “I should let you rest…” Robert wanted to leave before Aaron noticed too much “did you get your hands looked at?” but Adam took that away. He glared at the man in bed as Victoria exclaimed worry “I’m fine Vic, they’re just a little red. The doctor said that with some cooling cream they should be fine.”

This seemed to pacify his sister who let out a sigh of relief “good, I couldn’t handle you both in the hospital at the same time.” Aaron gaze was burning his skin, demanding that he turned and met it so Robert had to leave “I should go and put the cream on…” he walked out before either of them could say anything. He should’ve known Aaron better than that.

“Let me see them”

That wasn’t a request and if it was any other occasion Robert would be turned on by the tone of voice. “You have no right to demand anything” Robert tried to gain control but he made the mistake of turning to face Aaron and the man wasn’t budging. “Robert, I don’t want to argue with you so let me see your hands…” just as Robert was going to snap Aaron’s voice softened and begged “…please.” He could hear the desperation in the younger man’s voice that he couldn’t say no to.

Robert raised his red hands and at seeing the redness Aaron immediately stopped someone and demanded they treat him despite Robert’s protest. At first they just stared at Aaron as if wondering who the hell he was and marveling at his audacity but soon like everything around Aaron, things got done as the man ordered. That was how Robert found himself sitting in a room as a doctor put ointment on his hands before wrapping them in gauze.

Aaron asked questions and listened to the doctor’s instructing like they were gospel while Robert for the first time that day let himself zone out. Peritas was leaning on his leg keeping him from floating too far away. A hand on his face gently caressing his cheek snapped him out of his trip down the stream of calm “you back with us?” Robert looked up to see Aaron staring at him, his blue eyes soft and patient yet Robert could see the glint of worry in them.

“I’m fine”

“Are you?”

“Of course I am”

“In that case how about you tell me what really happened today…”

“I don’t know…”

“…because Adam told me a very interesting story.”

In that moment Robert realized that Aaron already knew what happened, the man just wanted to hear it from him ‘or he was testing me to see if I would lie.’ But Robert was nothing if not resourceful even at his worse “I will if you tell me the Dingle secret.” He saw the flash of surprise in the younger man’s eyes before he hid it well. Robert could see as Aaron almost seemed to process the words, as if trying to gage if it would be worth it.

“If you tell me everything truthfully then I will respond with the same.”

Robert realized that wasn’t a yes but it was also as close as he was going to get. He knew that telling Aaron would possibly get Chrissie in trouble but he was tired and a petty part of him almost smirked at the thought. The woman had used his trauma to threatened him and played with it like it was nothing. ‘I’m done protecting her; there is no point in holding on to something that I never wanted to begin with just for a man that never wanted me to begin with.’

“It all started when…”

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Aaron was beyond furious, he had only felt this way once and it was the night he killed the bastard that pretended to be his father. It was a calm kind of fury that had everyone around him worry especially because he refused to talk. It’s been a few days since the helicopter crash and everyone’s been focus on healing, burying and mourning the dead or cleaning up and planning the rebuilt.

Chas was extremely worry about Aaron, the rest of family was distracted with Debbie’s recovery but she noticed that her son seemed different. Normally that wouldn’t be something to worry her but the blank look in his eyes and the lack of emotion did worry her. She had never seen Aaron like that and it worried her, Chas knew who could help but she was too scare to approach the man after the last time Aaron caught her talking to him. “You’re a mafia and Aaron’s your boss” the words made the woman jump a foot in the air.

She turned around so fast she felt her neck crack ‘I’ll feel that in the morning’ but she didn’t think about that because behind her stood Robert in his signature leather jacket with a smarmy look on his face. “What are you on about? Are you a writer like your dad because that sounds like an interesting story” it took her a few seconds because the man had caught her by surprise but she was able to put on her poker face.

Unfortunately for her that brief second was enough for Robert “that was what you wanted to tell me the other day.” It was not a question; Robert was just after confirmation to what he already suspected since the day Katie died. Recently as he got his disorder back under control and started accepting certain things; Robert has had more time to think of other things that he had push back in effort to not go crazy with everything going on.

He easily went over all the interactions with Aaron and all the things about the younger man that seemed dodgy plus everyone’s poor opinion yet fear of the family. But what really set it in for Robert was what Aaron said when he told the man about everything with Chrissie. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it” the confidence but controlled anger was not something he’s seen in a simple thug ‘no, thugs were irrational and temperamental. They weren’t cool and controlled…’

“Who knew you had such a wild imagination, I was just going to say that you needed to decide what you really wanted and not string Aaron along.”

Chas was hoping that a reminder of his repressed sexuality would get the man’s attention away from the idea; everyone knew that Robert avoided any talk about his sexuality or Aaron, the man usually snapped or walked away. Unfortunately for her instead of running or snapping Robert stepped forward looking directly into the woman’s eyes “that’s all I needed to know.” Robert smirked before walking away, Chas didn’t notice but she had just proven his point.

As calm as Robert had been in that moment, on the inside he was panicking; it was different to suspect something than having it confirmed. He was fine with Aaron being a simple thug but a mobster was a completely different story. Mobsters were ruthless, cruel and bloodthirsty, while Robert might be okay with some scheming and dodgy business he had never killed or torture someone. He doesn’t know if he could handle that even if every part of him screamed for Aaron.

“What do you think boy?”

Peritas just cuddled closer to him almost as if smelling Robert’s inner turmoil and trying to help the man “don’t worry I’m not having an episode, just a crisis like everyone else.” The German Shepard just tilted his head as if to say ‘I wasn’t trained for that.’

“Yea, neither was I”

He was snapped from his musing by a knock on the door, a part of him wanted to ignore it but Vic was still in the hospital with Adam so he was on his own. The last person he expected when he opened the door was Chas and Cain Dingle, for a brief moment he was worry that they were going to ‘take care’ of him since he knew that family secret but he didn’t show it.

“What are you doing here?”

“We need to talk” both Dingles walked in like Robert invited them and it made him roll his eyes ‘typical Dingle.’

“I thought we already did…”

“Chas told me about the conversation you two had…”

“More like my suspicion which she confirmed by the way.”

“I did no such thing!” Chas exclaimed glaring at the smug man while Cain just rolled his eyes

“You did actually, you need a better poker face and to be quicker on your feet when trying to lie.”

Chas wanted to punch the smarmy prat but she couldn’t unless she wanted her son as an enemy so she took a deep breath and tried to control herself. She couldn’t see what her son saw in the man; besides looks, to her Robert Sugden had no redeeming qualities. “Hey, watch it Sudgen” Cain stepped forward threatening; only Chas and he knew that he wasn’t going to do anything to the man.

“Is there a reason you’re here or are you just here to threaten me…?”

“We’re not here to threaten you, for some reason I can’t fathom…you are important to Aaron and since Aaron is important to the family, we’ve agreed that it was time that you knew what you were getting into…”

“Who said I’m getting into anything, there is nothing going on between Aaron and I…”

“Oh cut the bullshit, we all see the eye fucks every time you two are in the same space”

Cain exclaimed frustrated with the blonde’s denial when it was so obvious to everyone that the two men were head over heels for each other. He was tired of Aaron’s temper and the sexual tension, Sugden is not the first or even the last person Cain would want for Aaron or anyone in his family but he more than anyone knew that you couldn’t choose who you fell in love with. He thought of Moira and how both their families had been against them being together, they had to fight to be together so as much as he didn’t want to Cain understood.

“Look we just think that you should understand all of Aaron before making any decisions…”

Robert walked over to the sofa and sat down; his curiosity got the better of him. He wanted to know everything about Aaron although he wouldn’t tell Chas that “in that case, go ahead, I’m listening.” The two Dingles stared at the man that almost looked regal with the massive dog sitting by his feet and staring at them like they were peasant and he was their King.

‘The pretentious prat…but I kind of see it…’

Chas prayed for patience, she could also see Cain’s eye twitch most likely trying not to strangle the blond. She took a deep breath hoping that her gamble paid off in the end and Robert could keep Aaron in check so that he didn’t kill them.

“It all started with Abraham Dingle…”


“You did what!?”

Debbie glared at her father; she knew she should watch her wounds but she just couldn’t believe that her father and aunt had done what they did especially after Aaron specifically order all of them not to. ‘Actually knowing Chas, I’m not really surprise…’ Still she was furious because the woman’s meddling just put the whole business in jeopardy.

“We told Sugden about the family, of course Chas sugarcoated it for the man leaving somethings out…”

“What were you two thinking? You must have lost your mind…” Debbie was panicking and at the same time in her mind she was trying to damage control and work on a plan to clean up the mess her father and aunt have created.

‘We might have to get rid of him…’

“…And actually he took it well”

“What?”

“I said that Sugden actually took it well”

“He did…?”

“Yea, we had Lydia keep an eye on him to see what he did after we left and so far he hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary.”

“That doesn’t mean that he won’t do anything once he’s done processing, we have to take care of this…”

“Have you forgotten who that is, do you really want Aaron to snap…”

“…”

“…No we will watch him and see what happens, I have a feeling Sugden might surprise us.”

Debbie didn’t have the same hope as her father but she knew that he was right, she couldn’t do anything against Robert ‘at least not until Aaron grows tired of him.’ It was Debbie’s job to take care of the family and the business when Aaron as the boss lost his way. She had to make the tough decisions when the big boss was compromised and it was obvious to everyone that when it came to Robert, Aaron was definitely compromised.

‘If I have to I will make that decision once Robert becomes a threat, for the good of the family’


But as the days passed that never happened, the man never brought up what he’s been told and as far as they could tell hadn’t told anyone. Aaron had been MIA for the last few days so maybe Robert was waiting to confront the younger man. The Dingles all kept an eye on him although to Debbie’s surprise they all seemed fine with Chas and Cain telling him everything.

“He’s taken it better than expected”

“Yea, Aaron chose well with that one”

“If I was a few years younger…” Faith licked her lips as she checked the tall blond out “Mum!”

“Don’t let Aaron hear you”

Robert mostly ignored them as if nothing had changed while the whole family seemed to consider the man’s place in the family a done deal. It annoyed Debbie to no end because when she started dating Pete everyone was skeptical and gave their relationship a hard time. Even though Pete was worth ten Roberts, no one had liked that tall blond until they found out that he was Aaron’s and everyone loved him.

Suddenly he belonged and everyone approved of him and was practically welcoming him with open arms, it was frustrating. Debbie remembers how everyone agreed with Aaron’s decision to keep Pete out of the business, even her father who had no secrets with his wife was okay with Debbie keeping secrets from her husband.

So she wasn’t as optimistic as the rest of her family and a part of her knew that in part it was out of spite. She knew that it wasn’t the same hearing something than seeing it. She knew that if Robert were to see Aaron the way she had, he wouldn’t be so calm or accepting.

Unaware to her, Robert wasn’t as accepting as he seemed instead the man was still trying to process everything that he had been told. He was struggling because his emotions and his logic were telling him completely different things and he didn’t know what to do. His feelings were calling for Aaron, they were almost pushing him to find the younger man and ravish him. His logic was telling him to run, to listen to Victoria and keep away from the whole family especially Aaron.

Even worse he couldn’t tell anyone except Peritas but the dog was also a little bias since he likes Aaron as well. The dog did listen to him rant all his worries and jumble thoughts but just seemed to humor him as if Robert was being dramatic and making things worse than they were. Robert knew that maybe he was ‘I mean, Aaron and I aren’t even a thing. We’ll never be…’ Peritas by his side huff as if to say ‘yea right’

“Oh shut up! What would you know? You’re just a dog.”


While all that was going on Aaron was getting ready for a special visitor, his people were just collecting the final information before bringing the package to him. “Sir, we’ve got the mole” before that he had to deal with a mole that was feeding MI-5 information on their organization. He was frustrated but he couldn’t let personal issues take precedent to the business because personal issues just affect him while the business issues affect millions of people.

‘Hell, it affects all of England and parts of the world’

He had left the village in the capable hands of Cain until Debbie was out of the hospital and healed. Aaron didn’t trust his mother but he knew that Cain could handle things without letting his personal feeling affect his decisions. “Get the welcome package ready, let’s give him some time to think about what he’s done” Aaron instructed from his office in the warehouse that was the base of their operation.

While his soldiers prepared everything, Aaron went over the information that was sent to him about the White family and their business. Turns out the family had been on the edge of bankruptcy thanks to the youngest daughter very lavish spending and lifestyle, as well as the family’s poor investment, before Chrissie met Robert. The man –his man, he couldn’t help but think possessively- had saved the family with his charisma with the clients and ingenious mind for investment.

Aaron couldn’t help but smile with pride as he read about how Robert turned a failing business into a success with business deals and building connections with vendors as well as clients. ‘My man is brilliant’ Aaron would never tell the man that because he would just get a smug smirk and an “I know.” He also read about all the bad business deals that Lawrence made and even worse how the family started splurging while paying Robert the bear minimum. Aaron was beginning to wonder if Chrissie had started dating Robert in part to keep him from moving on to something better.

‘Keeping the goose with the golden eggs firmly under their control…’

“Boss, we’re ready”

Aaron took a deep breath, getting into the mindset of mafia boss; he pushed the Whites and even Robert to the back of his mind. He changed into dress pants, white shirt and vest without the blazer. One thing his family has taught him was that image was everything especially when facing an adversary. It was the last image they would see but it also decided how people saw him and the family.

Depending on what he was doing Aaron varies between the thug hoodies as his mother called them or the old gangster suits. He always liked how elegant the old school gangster dressed; it was a whole other level of badass because most didn’t expect a man in a three-piece suit to do anything to harm them unless it was in a courtroom. When teaching a lesson or punishing someone he wore the suits but when having business meetings he wore the hoodies because it made people underestimate him and made arseholes reveal their true colors.

He walked down into a room to see a man tie to a chair, shaking in fear as the clicking of Aaron’s dress shoes rang in the silent room like a bomb. “Hey mate, glad you could join us” Aaron smiled at the man but his smile showed far too much teeth to match his casual tone. He walked over to the table that held what he called the welcome package, that was when the whimpering started.

“Oh come on mate, we haven’t even started”

Aaron took the brass knuckles after rolling up his shirt sleeves “let me teach you what happens to people that don’t mind their own business.” He heard liquid dripping from the chair to the ground and was hit with the stench of urine; Aaron rolled his eyes before swinging.


Debbie knew that she was doing the right thing as she parked in front of the warehouse but she also knew not everyone would see it that way. She knew that Aaron was dealing with a mole; their people were keeping her informed as the second in command. Debbie has dealt with moles before, she had also seen Aaron deal with them before and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Her cousin was truly ruthless and terrifying in that moment because it’s almost as if he turns off his humanity and goes to town.

“Are you ready for this?”

She turned to see Robert Sugden studying the warehouse before turning back to her “I’m still not sure what you want me to be ready for, are you going to kill me?” The man was confused since the woman had almost ambushed him and demanded they go for a drive. Based on what Chas and Cain told him Debbie was Aaron’s second which made her important to the family ‘business.’ Peritas placed his head on Robert’s shoulder from his place in the back; at least the woman didn’t make him leave his dog behind.

Peritas had his service vest on, something that Vic had pressured him to start doing since everyone already knew about his disorder “Robert, you don’t need to hide anymore.” His younger sister insisted until he gave in ‘she has the Sugden stubbornness.’ Debbie rolled her eyes at the man’s false calm “I’m not going to kill you…” the ‘yet’ was left unsaid but they both heard it.

“…Unlike the rest of the family I don’t think Chas should’ve told you about us, it wasn’t a decision she had a right to make.”

“She didn’t have to, I had figured it out long before she opened her mouth” that surprised Debbie she had been under the impression that Chas had told Robert everything, they hadn’t told her that the man had already connected the dots on his own.

‘Smarter than he looks’

“Well, you have them all convince that you will fit right in, that you can handle it but I’m not as easily sold”

“Good thing I don’t have to proof anything to you, I’m not interested in joining your ‘super-secret’ club”

“Maybe not but you are interested in Aaron…” the man was so frustrating, Debbie couldn’t wait to see him knock down a peg when he saw Aaron in action “…Let’s see if you can handle him.”

Debbie got out not waiting for Robert, she knew that his curiosity would make him follow her so she smirked when she head the door opening and closing. She will show the family that they had been wrong about Robert being a better fit for the family than Pete. Robert might pretend to be a tough guy but he would no sooner sell them out because he didn’t have the loyalty that Pete did. Some of the soldiers looked at the blond and dog behind him but didn’t say anything since they were with Debbie. The higher ones recognized the man as someone their boss had been keeping an eye on.

Debbie could see them wondering why she would bring someone not in the organization to the warehouse, the only people that enter the warehouse that weren’t part of the organization were those about to be killed or torture. Robert looked around the warehouse in curiosity, it seemed like it was some food distribution or production warehouse but he couldn’t tell what it produced. Peritas stayed firm by his side, cautious of the new place that smelled of blood, pain and anger.

“AAAHHHH!”

Robert jumped at the sudden bloodcurdling scream; he looked around trying to see where the noise was coming from while Debbie smirked seeing from the side of her vision as the man jumped in fear. ‘See, he’s no better…’ Robert’s eyes widened at hearing the sound again “what the bloody hell was that?” Peritas brushed against him smelling his high emotions and slight fear.

The dog didn’t like the joy he could smell from the human bitch beside his human. “Sounds like Aaron already started, we should hurry or he will be done before we get there” Debbie continued to walk and Robert almost turned back.

‘Damn my curiosity’

Debbie took him into a small room with a window in it like; there was nothing in the room except for two chairs. “Behold Sugden, your dear Aaron” she gestured behind him and Robert turned to the window to see something that made him gasp. Behind the window there was a massive bare room with only a chair in the center and a cart to the side. But that wasn’t what made Robert gasp it was what was happening inside.

In the chair a bloody mess that once might have been a human male sat tied up, his mouth was most gums and his fingers were mostly nail-less. The man was surprisingly still alive and shaking, covered in all sorts of his own bodily fluids mixed with blood, his lips moved as if trying to form words that he was no longer capable of.

Robert could read a please in those lips and he felt the vile rise up his throat and threaten to come out, it was a sight that he had only seen in horror movies or Criminal Minds episodes ‘and even then I couldn’t stomach them.’

Debbie saw the moment Robert realized who the torturer was as the man’s eyes widened and his mouth fell open. In that moment Aaron walked over to the cart to put something down before turning back to the man giving them a great view of his face. Robert had never seen those beautiful clear blue eyes so blank and dark like the deep sea; the younger man was completely unbothered by the man clearly bleeding out before him.

‘Who was this man that seemed so different from my grumpy Aaron…?’

Then he noticed what Aaron was wearing and he felt like the worse human being for getting turned on ‘but god Aaron looks bloody fit in a suit…’ it showed off all his muscles ‘…better than those baggy jeans and hoodies.’ The younger man looked like a 20s gangster or a lawyer and suddenly Robert wanted to bend Aaron over in a court room bathroom just before his big case. ‘Am I really fantasizing while Aaron it torturing and killing someone? What the bloody hell…?’ there was seriously something wrong with him but he couldn’t help it.

The swagger and confidence in which Aaron moved did things to Robert and suddenly the man in the chair didn’t exist. “How about you show me who I belong to doll…” Robert could feel his hard on and he shuffled trying to hide it. Debbie noticed and really stared at the man expecting fear or discomfort only to see him licking his lips before biting them. The disgust and fear was no longer in the man’s eyes, all she saw was lust as the man practically ripped off Aaron’s clothes with his eyes.

For the first time she started to think that maybe her family was right about Robert and the man was actually perfect for Aaron. Maybe he did fit in with them if the image before him didn’t affect him or destroyed his desire for Aaron. She hated to admit that if this was Pete he would’ve definitely ran out throwing up and demanding that she stay away from him.

She loves Pete but she wishes that he accepted her as much as Robert clearly accepted Aaron. Debbie couldn’t help but be jealous of the complete love and acceptance that Aaron got from the man he loved while she had to settle for having only part of herself loved and accepted by the man she loved.

‘It wasn’t fair…’

Suddenly Robert stormed out snapping Debbie out of her thoughts, she looked at the window and flinched as she saw a widen eyes Aaron staring back. She saw the moment the man realized what she had done as his eyes darken and glared at her before rushing out, she was definitely going to pay for that.


 “Finish him off” Aaron ordered before running out after Robert, he had been surprise when he turned to the window and saw him standing next to Debbie staring at him with widen eyes.

‘My family couldn’t let it go; I expected it from Chas not Debbie’

He was hurt by the betrayal from his second and he will deal with her later but first he had to stop Robert and try to explain. ‘How could she do this to me? After I approved her marriage with Pete…’ he had tried not to be a bad boss to his family like some in the past but apparently he was too soft with them and they needed a firmer hand.

As he was about to turn a corner in frantic search of his blond a hand reached out and pulled him, Aaron was about to fight the person before familiar lips crash against his. There was a desperation and wildness to that kiss, it didn’t take Aaron long to be swept away and let his on desperation and accumulated lust to take over. Feeling those long fingers in his hair made him moan which Robert took advantage of and shoved his tongue in Aaron’s mouth exploring each part.

Aaron wrapped his arms around the man’s slim waist and held tightly, he didn’t want the man to run and leave him. He was never letting Robert go now; unfortunately they had to eventually pull back for air “you look so fit.” Aaron was slightly dazed and his brain was still trying to reboot itself, an affect that Robert always had on him. Peritas sat a few feet away with his back to them as if keeping watch, like there were teens sneaking around. Robert wanted to ravish the younger man, it had been so long but the splatters of blood was stopping him.

“Do you have a shower in this place, I want to have my way with you but I don’t really have a blood kink so…”

That seemed to snap Aaron back as he remembers the situation, he saw distaste in Robert’s face but it was directed at the blood on Aaron not Aaron himself. He knew that he was panicking slightly “…Aaron focus, sex first then we’ll deal with the rest. I’m about to burst.” Of course Robert noticed his inner turmoil; the man could always read him like a book.

Aaron had a shower in his office so he grabbed the man’s arm “I have one in my office.” The clicking of Peritas nails hitting the floor followed after them but they were both used to the dog being a sort of third wheel in their ‘meetings.’ They had gotten creative to give themselves some privacy, this time was no different as they left the dog in his office while Aaron drag Robert to the bathroom off to the side. Peritas was used to his human mating with the other human so he got up and laid on the sofa, knowing that they would be there for a while.

‘They must be in heat…’

Robert pushed Aaron into the shower after the man took off his shoes not giving him a chance to take off his clothes; Robert turned the shower and watched as the water fell on him wetting his clothes. Any other time he would worry about the clearly name brand suit being ruined but the lust was too strong. It was almost erotic, like the pictures of models in wet t-shirts, the ones Robert would let himself have for the first years after being kicked out.

Those smoldering looks, the wet hair, and the wet clothes giving hints of muscles always got to Robert. Now that it was Aaron, the image was even more powerful and irresistible ‘I can’t believe I get to have this.’ He had always secretly dreamed that one day he would meet one of those models and they would travel around the world having wild, hot, kinky sex while living in luxury.

‘One out of three is not too bad…’

Robert took off his own clothes feeling Aaron’s heated stare on him, burning him in the best way possible. Once naked, he stepped into the shower and claimed Aaron’s mouth more aggressively. Aaron was so far gone in lust that he wasn’t bothered by how uncomfortable and heavy his clothes felt. He just wanted more of Robert, a part of him thought that he would never get this again.

Once Robert moved to his neck Aaron’s mouth was free to voice his pleasure “mark me! Please Rob…” before they were very careful so that no one would notice but now it was all out in the open and Aaron wanted Robert’s mark on him. He moaned at he felt Robert suck hard before biting close to his Adam’s apple.

He heard the rip and the popping sound when Robert ripped his vest and button shirt open but he couldn’t find it in him to care especially when Robert travelled down his chest and took one of his nipples in his mouth. “Robert…” he sigh and panted in an almost reverence, if he wasn’t so lost and desperate he would worry about stroking the man’s too large ego.

Robert smirked as he held Aaron’s nipple between his teeth and pulled hard making the younger man arch and moan loudly. Robert moved to the next one making sure to leave it as perked and red as the first one, he licked them affectionately as if apologizing for the sweet torture. But Aaron knew Robert better, the man was never sorry for driving him crazy in the best ways possible and Aaron never wanted him to be.

“Still so sensitive…”

“Robert…”

The man continued down Aaron’s abs which Robert took his time biting each one; once he reached Aaron’s waist, Robert got on his knees and that image almost made Aaron cum in his pants like a school boy. “Rob…Please…” it was almost as if that was the magic word because Robert opened his pants, pulled his cock out and practically swallowed it down “Holy fuck…!” He felt like Robert was sucking out his soul ‘I don’t care, it’s yours, take it!’

Then those talented long fingers wrapped around his heavy balls and to Aaron’s embarrassment he was gone. “ROBERT!!!” he came inside the man’s mouth and even felt as Robert swallowed his cum down. Aaron didn’t have time to recover, while he was still in his pleasure haze Robert man handled him and turned him around pulling his pants the rest of the way down.

“Let’s clean you out shall we”

That was all the warning he got before a slick finger entered him, all Aaron could do was whine since he was still fairly weak from a mind numbing orgasm. Robert’s finger felt comforting like something that was always meant to be, they reached deeper than Aaron could with his own fingers ‘it hasn’t been the same.’ Feeling the second finger was a little of a stretch but Aaron loved the slight burn.

“So tight, were you waiting for me doll?”

“Hmmm…!”

The name was new but Aaron loved it or maybe he just loved the tone Robert said it in because it sounded so deliciously confident, affectionate and filthy. Maybe it was the fact that Robert also bit his ear as he said it ‘who am I kidding, I’m weak for anything coming from this man.’

He moaned as the two fingers pushed against his prostate. It was no surprise that Robert, being the sadist that he was continued to abuse Aaron’s poor prostate until the younger man’s legs trembled barely holding him up.

Just when Aaron was on the edge the fingers moved away from his prostate making him whine but not for long since they were joined by a third finger. “Robert…please…” the stretch was great but it made Aaron desperate “I’m ready…please…fuck me!” Instead of giving him what he was begging for Robert wiggled his three fingers before spreading them and bending them ‘because he’s a sadistic arsehole!’

“Maybe I should make you cum one more time before fucking you until you beg for mercy…”

“Please…Ahhh!”

“We both know you can give me three although you do tend to pass out after the third one…”

Robert was too calm and casual for Aaron’s taste especially because he was a moaning mess “Rob please…missed you…need you…inside…” The only evidence that his begging was having an effect on the man was the three fingers pushing more urgently against his prostate and the teeth biting hard on the back of his neck. Aaron was sure that Robert was going to make him cum another time but suddenly the fingers were gone.

Any other time he would’ve been ashamed of the whine that left his mouth or the wanton way he pushed his arse out to chase those long fingers. “Don’t worry I’ll give you something bigger…” Aaron felt something thicker and longer than the fingers rubbed between his cheeks before it was gone “…unless you prefer my fingers?” Again he whined but this time it was followed by a plead

“You know I love it when you beg, now even more…”

Robert felt so powerful having the fearsome mob boss under him, begging and moan for his dick; it was definitely a whole new high. He wanted to make the powerful man beg more but he had reached his limit. Robert for all his posturing was ready to burst, if he continued to tease Aaron then he was going to cum before he could actually fuck the younger man ‘and that would be unfortunate.’ He placed his tip against the ring of muscle before pushing into the tight heat.

‘God, I’ve missed this…’

Aaron sighs at the delicious feeling of being full and complete for the first time in what felt like months. “Damn…still as tight as ever…” he felt the moment Robert bottom out “you feel that doll, you can still take all of me in.” Aaron tightens his muscles making Robert groan “fuck…me!” Aaron demanded so Robert moved one hand over Aaron’s chest and wrapped his hand around the younger man’s neck while the other grabbed his hip.

Robert never disappointed as he pulled almost all the way out before slamming back in, he started off slow but soon was slamming Aaron against the shower wall. At this point Robert’s hands and dick was the only thing keeping Aaron standing. Aaron was passed coherent speech or even sounds. Soon Robert found his prostate and abused it like it was a button on a slot machine and he was an addict looking for the rent money he lost.

Aaron came so hard that he blacked out but that didn’t stop Robert from chasing his own pleasure, his thrust became erratic as Aaron tightened around him. He felt Aaron’s head lay on his shoulder as the younger man became practically boneless, for some reason it drove him wild.

To know that he broke Aaron in the best way possible made him slam into the man with abandonment. His hands tightened around the younger man’s neck and waist as his orgasm approached. Robert slammed as deep as he could, pushing Aaron up on his tip toes using his thighs to hold him up before he came deep inside the younger man.

“Aaron…!”

Just like that Robert felt as if his energy was zapped out of him, carrying Aaron’s almost dead weight wasn’t helping. But he felt amazing and for the first time actually happy, maybe he was just delirious from a great orgasm. Robert hadn’t felt that great for a long time, even their first time hadn’t felt so…liberating. It was like waking up after many years in a coma and watching the sun for the first time.

‘I don’t ever want this feeling to go away.’


Some soldiers told Debbie about the sounds coming from Aaron’s office but she told them to leave the man be as she took care of things while Aaron was indisposed. She wasn’t supposed to be back to work yet but she did anyways, in part she knew that it was the guilt of what she had done ‘even if it didn’t turn out how I wanted.’ She truly did not wish Aaron’s unhappiness or heartbreak and she never had a problem with his position and his power within the family.

Even now she doesn’t want to be in charge, she had seen what being in charge had done to Chas and the woman’s father. She never wanted that for herself, Debbie preferred the power being the second gives her without the pressure of being in charge and having to make the decisions that others could not. “Ma’am, the boss is gone” a soldier stepped forward “what do you mean gone?”

“He drove away with the tall blond”

Debbie wondered if she was really that lucky, she had heard that Robert was Aaron’s anchor but she didn’t know that the man would have that much power over her cousin or that it would kick in so quickly. ‘Maybe I could use this to my advantage…’ “Make sure that he is not bothered, I will take care of everything until he returns.” She should’ve known better than to think she could distract Aaron and make him forget.

In the meantime, while Debbie was trying to figure out how to get out of the mess she made for herself at Home farm shadows surrounded the house. They had strict orders on what to do, they were to avoid being caught so they were waiting until it became dark and the family went to sleep. “The target is the woman, we have to take her in alive. The boss doesn’t really care if the package gets damage in transit but it has to be in one piece.”

Any normal person would be curious about the woman and what had she done but they were seasoned soldiers, they knew how it all worked. You never asked questions especially when given a direct order from the big boss himself. All they needed to know was that this person had disrespected the boss and she needed to pay for that. No one messed with the Dingles or disrespected their boss; if they tried man or woman they would suffer the consequences.

When night came and as soon as all the lights were off in the big house they moved in. A team of two will infiltrate while the rest would keep watch, there was also one person under each of the males’ bedroom window to keep watch and make sure they didn’t wake up. It was alarmingly easy to get in the house and up to the woman’s bedroom. She did struggle when they put the chloroform in her face, waking her up for a brief moment before the chloroform took effect. Once she was out it only took one of them to carry her out. In a matter of minutes everything was done and they disappeared into the night with their new package none the wiser.

Chapter Text

More beast than man

Robert and Aaron were recovering in the younger man’s Hotten flat after their third round. Peritas was napping in the living room on the sofa; the dog was content because he could smell that his human was happy again. His human missed his mate hopefully if they kept mating they would have pups, the dog was sure that was why Robert hadn’t been happy because his mate wasn’t with pup yet but with all the mating they do he was sure it will happen soon.

Aaron on the other hand was on cloud nine; he was deliciously sore yet he wanted even more. He wanted not to be able to sit tomorrow; right now at the most he would be walking with a limp. Robert wasn’t really gentle or slow and Aaron didn’t really want him to, he feels like an addict that was finally getting his fix after so long of going without. Even better this time he didn’t have to hold back and was able to mark the hell out of Robert. The older man’s neck alone will probably look like he was straggled by an octopus.

“God, I’ve missed this”

“Yea, let’s not go this long without. I can’t do cold turkey again” Aaron joked although they could both here the slight desperation and honesty in his voice.

“No more cold turkey” Robert lean forward and smirked before he kissed the man’s clearly well abused lips.

Aaron smiled into the kiss and wrapped his arms around Robert, holding the man tight as if the older man would disappear if he let him go or more likely run away. Aaron wasn’t even bothered by the older man’s weight on top of him; it felt like a comforting weighted blanket. Being with Robert felt like coming home, almost like he had been in a coma and was just waking up for the first time.

Aaron closed his eyes as Robert’s lips traveled down his body leaving bite marks in their wake. Robert could feel Aaron tremble under his lips; he felt powerful and needed, it was all exhilarating and he never wanted to give it up. All Robert ever wanted in his life was to be wanted and needed, his mother had made him feel wanted and Victoria made him feel need but no one made him feel both.

For the first time since they started their affair, Robert took his time and worshipped Aaron’s body. He cherished every little scar and big scar the younger man had and thanked each one because they were part of what made Aaron the man he loved. He had realized that despite dodgy family business, broken moral compass, the viciousness and vindictive attitude, Robert wouldn’t change anything about Aaron.

‘He’s perfect… at least for me anyways’


While Aaron and Robert were enjoying their reunion, in Emmerdale the Whites were just waking up for the day and noticed that something was seriously wrong. “Where’s Chrissie?” Lawrence asked Lachlan who was eating cereal and staring at his phone ‘kid got some priorities’ “I don’t know, probably still sleeping.” The old rolled his eyes at the teen’s lack of interest; he walked upstairs to wake his daughter up. It was so unlike her to sleep in but he knew who was to blame for the strange behavior, Robert Sugden had really messed his family up.

He knew the man was bad news from the moment the younger man blackmailed him when Chrissie introduced them about that the night they really met. Lawrence regretted his weakness and even more he regretted not being firmer on Chrissie when she started dating the man. Robert Sugden was a tornado, he destroyed everything he touched, he tried to tell Chrissie especially when the man proposed but his daughter was fooled by the man’s charm.

He won’t deny that once he began to see the profit rise and all the new clients that the younger man brought into the company, even he was charmed in some way. Lawrence won’t deny –at least to himself- that when it came to the business Robert was useful and even beneficial. But he was sure that they would be fine without the man ‘we were before he came along…’ although in the back of his mind he knew that they really hadn’t been.

“Chrissie, dear it’s time to wake up…” when he heard no sound he sigh “…Chrissie, I know you’ve had a hard time but you can’t let that bring you down. Don’t give that man the satisfaction…”

Lawrence knew that ever since the helicopter crash, his daughter had been shaken and on edge. She refused to talk about it but Lawrence was positive that Robert had done something again, he wondered if the man had threatened her because she seemed to be in a constant state of panic. Lawrence had seen her jumping at a ringing phone or at sounds from outside, it was almost as if she expected someone to come get her at any moment.

“Chrissie…”

When his daughter still didn’t answer him, Lawrence walked into the room only to see an empty bed. He would check the bathroom but it was wide open ‘maybe she left already…’ it was strange since Chrissie had never been an earlier riser than him. Then he saw her cellphone on the nightstand and he knew that something was wrong, Chrissie would never leave her phone anywhere.

“Father, you might not understand because you are old but my phone is my lifeline just the same way it is for everyone…”

‘Something is not right…’

He rushed downstairs to get Lachlan hoping that the boy would have heard something about his mother but again got the same disinterested tone “she’s probably on a walk or acting like a complete…” Lawrence glared at the teen “watch it! That is your mother…!” The teen just rolled his eyes so Lawrence knew he would be no help. He decided to go and check the security cameras hoping that it would show him something. He rushed into the office, his panic rising with each minute as he began imagining the worst case scenario. With Lachlan’s begrudgingly helping, Lawrence accessed the video from last night.

He was hoping to see Chrissie going out for a walk but all he saw was the screen glitching out for a few minutes before the image return like nothing happened. “What the hell…?” Lachlan began checking something on the screen; finally the teen actually looked interested “what happened?” The teen was becoming frantic and it panicked Lawrence “someone hacked the system, for a few minutes last night it was off before going back online.”

“Why would someone want to do that?” Lachlan just glared at his grandfather for the clearly dumb question.

“I’m guessing it has to do with mum and why she’s not home…”

“You think Chrissie did this?”

“Mum isn’t as tech savvy as she claims to be so no”

“I’m calling the police”

Lawrence feared that something happened to his daughter and he knew exactly who was to blame. There was only one person with motive to hurt his daughter, Robert Sugden and his lot. If something happens to his daughter he will finally get rid of the man like he should’ve done from the moment Chrissie brought him into their lives. Robert Sugden will feel the true wrath and power of the White family.

‘He’s gone too far’


Aaron had never felt happier as he made his way home after Robert had left on his own “we don’t really need to go separately, not anymore…” Even their conversation from earlier didn’t cloud his happiness “Aaron, I can’t…” It was clear that Robert was still having an issue with coming out but as long as they were together Aaron was willing to give him time “…I need time to…It’s not easy to just let all this go and I’m trying because I really want this but…” Aaron had kissed the frustrated and slightly desperate man silencing his rambling.

The fact that Robert was willing to accept his feelings for Aaron and that he admitted that he wanted much more –even if it was just between them- was good enough for Aaron. Since Chrissie and the sham wedding was not a factor then Aaron could be patient especially since he was getting amazing sex. Robert had left a few minutes ago and Aaron’s satisfied endorphins were just beginning to calm down giving him the nice buzz that weed used to give him.

As soon as his brain realized that there was space for thoughts other than Robert and sex, it reminded him of Debbie and what she had done. Suddenly Aaron was angry at the woman’s audacity and clear disrespect; he wasn’t stupid he knew that she hadn’t been happy with his decision over Pete. It was a petty form of revenge that thankfully worked in his favor but he still needed to confront the woman because if he can’t trust her to accept and follow his orders than she was useless as a second.

He knew that he would’ve been angrier had it not got him Robert back but he was still disappointed. At first Aaron was going to talk to Debbie alone but he remembered that his whole family had been defying his orders so he called for a family meeting at Wishing Well. All he got was a confirmation, no one dared question his order ‘at least they’re not a completely lost cause…’ He took his time on his way over because he wanted to make them sweat especially Debbie because she knew what she had done.

Aaron was right; the family was worried especially since they remembered what happened the last time Aaron called a meeting. Debbie was the only one that had an idea about the reason for the meeting and she was terrified. She had seen Aaron’s temper in action; she had even seen him aim a gun at his own mother meaning that she wasn’t safe. When she arrived at Wishing Well most of the family was already there, Lisa immediately led her to a chair, fussing over her since she was still healing from the helicopter crash.

“What do you think this meeting is about?”

“Probably you’re constant meddling in his love life…” Moira sent an unimpressed stare at Cain and Chas since she knew what they did behind Aaron’s back.

“He can’t be mad about that, we did him a favor…” no one was surprise by how self-righteous Chas sounded.

“Yea, Sugden actually took it well”

“But it wasn’t your choice to make…!”

Soon the family began arguing, everyone taking sides; it was the ‘busybodies’ versus the ‘mind your own business’ team. While everyone was arguing Debbie sat silently in her seat, the only one to noticed was Bella who hadn’t bother to argue with the rest of the family. She was going to ask the older woman what was wrong but the door opened before she could even open her mouth. The new arrival silenced the arguing “please don’t stop on my account.”

Again no one noticed that Debbie flinched at the coldness in that voice, everyone else looked ashamed at being caught. “Aaron love, we were just wondering what this meeting was about” the fact that Aaron was in his typical hoodies eased some of their worries. “You mean you don’t know, you have been so involved in my personal life that you felt entitled to go over my head…” Aaron glared at Chas and Cain, letting them know that he knew what they’ve done “…something that is usually punished by death.”

Everyone gasp but no one dared risk pissing the young man off even more by protesting especially because they noticed the gun in his waist. Debbie for a minute thought that she was out of the woods and Chas meddling was worse than what she had done especially since it got them together. Then as expected of him, things took an unexpected turn that left them all reeling when Aaron pulled out his gun and aimed.

Debbie felt the hard metal on the back of her head and closed her eyes knowing that she wasn’t safe. In the background, she heard the family speaking up mainly her mother and father but Aaron ignored them “give me a reason not to shoot you right here and now…” She saw her mother’s wide eyes, Moira holding her glaring father back and Chas trying to pacify her son. But Debbie was the second in command to the most powerful gang in Europe so she took a deep breath and hid her fear with false confidence.

“Because it actually got you what you wanted.”

Despite the false bravado there was still a slight tremble to her voice but no one could really blame her “Aaron, let’s talk about this…Debbie is family and your second…” Chas again stepped forward trying to calm her son as if she was a lion tamer. “What happened…? We have a right to know!” Charity demanded her weak and low mothering instinct overcoming her fear.

“Tell them what you did? How you publicly defied my orders but most of all how you betrayed me! Tell them!”

Debbie flinched at the man’s tone as did most of the people in the room, not because of the anger but because of the hurt and disappointment. It was not something any of them had heard from the otherwise cold man. Chas stepped back suddenly not so much on Debbie’s side any more ‘if she made Aaron feel that way…’ Charity glared at her almost as if she heard what the woman was thinking.

“Debbie dear, what did you do?”

“…”

“Tell them how you took Robert to the warehouse while I was working so that he could see me, the ‘real’ me…” everyone in the room gasped loudly even Charity, their eyes widened “…and for what just for some petty revenge because I refused to accept Saint Pete.”

“Debbie, you didn’t…?” Cain asked his daughter not wanting to believe that she was so rash and spiteful to her own family.

“Tell them how you jeopardized the whole family and millions of people just because you didn’t get what you wanted!”

All the disappointment and shame was suddenly directed at her, some of the family even looked angry. “It wasn’t like that…” for the first time she spoke up, her voice was filled with emotion as she was forced to face her actions. Debbie realized that she had not really thought things through until that moment. “No…? You wanted to punish me for making the right decision for the family” the gun was finally moved from her head and she felt a little saver to speak up.

“It wasn’t the right decision! None of you even gave Pete a chance!”

“That’s because we all see what you can’t” Marlon was the one to respond, even he noticed that the Barton wasn’t right for the family.

“Or maybe I just see what you all refused to see…!”

“This is not about your relationship or who’s right for either of you; your actions could’ve been bad for the family. What would you have done if Sugden had panicked? He’s not like others, I will never tell him this but he’s not an idiot; what if he would’ve gone to the news and made things public. An empire of centuries would’ve been destroyed because you wanted to be petty and childish.”

Debbie flinched at her father’s tone and the disappointed look “all for your flavor of the month.” Faith was the one to add with distaste and enough sass to piss Debbie off “Pete is not a flavor of the month, he is my husband. That is more than I can say about Aaron and Robert…!” Aaron who had been quiet walked around and in a flash grabbed Debbie by the neck lifting her off the sofa.

“Don’t you dare…You and I are not the same; to me Robert is everything, to you Pete was just the chum that was docile enough for you to manipulate.” Debbie grabbed his hand desperately but they just tighten their grip “you think I don’t know about your little adventure with Ross when you were dating the ‘love of your life’?”

“Aaron…”

“You’re killing her!”

“Robert and I had an affair but we both knew what we were, there was no lie or secrets…” Aaron ignored everyone knowing that no one would dare try to physically stop him “…if you want to compare your pathetic relationship to me then be honest, Pete is your Chrissie not the Robert of your life. He’s the dumbass you leave at home taking care of everything while you go have your fun. So never compare your pathetic relationship to mine and Robert’s”

Finally Aaron let go just as Debbie was beginning to turn a dangerous shade of red, he watched her fall to the floor and gasped loudly as she desperately tried to get some much needed air. Charity rushed to her daughter’s side “and you wonder why no one in this family accepts Pete; it’s because just like you, we don’t take him serious.” Debbie looked around and noticed that no one, not even her own parents denied this. Everyone had been so happy for her when she found the man that she expected them to have her back. It hurt to realize that they didn’t really but she wasn’t too surprised since Aaron was not someone anyone wanted to go against.

“Aaron, what are you going to do?” Chas asked, as an old boss she knew that things like this had to be punished to reestablish dominance and set the status quo

“What…!? You have to forgive her…” Charity looked up as a few family shook their head knowing that was not the right thing to say.

“I ‘have’ to…?” the dangerous tone made Charity step back with her words “I meant that she is your second.”  

“I’m not sure if I can trust you anymore; this is not how a second behaves.” Aaron stared at Debbie with disappointment and emotionally it hurt her more than his anger.

“What’s makes Robert so different from Pete?” Debbie asked quietly and some rolled their eyes at the woman not getting it, either way she got a respond but it wasn’t Aaron that answered “Sugden lied, cheated and schemed long before he met Aaron, never getting caught while your Pete won’t even talk to Ross because he steals and is most likely to be a good cop than a decent crook, that is what makes Robert and Pete different.”

“I will think about what to do with you, in the meantime I don’t want you anywhere near the business, Adam will be taking over as my second…” Both Adam and Debbie gasped, they didn’t expect the news. The rest of the family wasn’t surprise even Charity knew that Aaron was being lenient. “Aaron, no please…I’m a Dingle, this is what I’ve been trained all my life for” Debbie begged she didn’t realize how important her position was until the moment it was taken from her.

“Being a Dingle is the only thing keeping you alive…” he harshly grabbed her chin making her stared into his cold eyes “…but it won’t safe you forever.”

“…”

“Think of it as a vacation, take this time to reflect, take selfies, get drunk, or go on a honeymoon. Cherish every moment you get with the man you risked it all for…hopefully it was worth it.”

Aaron gave her one last vicious smirk before roughly letting her go and making his way out “oh and if anyone else defies a direct order the Dingle name won’t be enough to safe you.” Everyone shiver at the promise behind those eyes, Adam rushed after his friend no doubt to get started on his new duties or talk about his surprising promotion.

Debbie was left crying on the floor but no one could find it in themselves to sympathize with the woman. Her arrogance and entitlement created the monster she was now faced with. They all knew Aaron was within his right to kill her but he didn’t although they knew that often times with Aaron that fate was much worse.


“What have you done to my daughter!?”

Chrissie had been missing for two days and the police still had no leads, they said they had talked to everyone in the village and eliminated all the usual suspects. Lawrence didn’t believe them especially since they gave him the runaround when he first reported her missing. He was desperate and he was sure that Robert Sugden had something to do with his daughter’s disappearance, no matter what the detective said. That was why he stood in the streets looking like a crazed man, glaring at a surprise Robert as he walked out of the café.

“Have you lost your mind?” Robert looked him up and down “never mind that was a trick question, I see you have.”

“Don’t think your mind games are going to work on me; I know that you did something to her because she exposed you!”

Robert stared at the older man and raised an eyebrow at his hypocrisy “exposed me…?” Lawrence was blinded by his fear and worry for his daughter and he didn’t realize that he had brought a knife to a gun fight. “Yes, she exposed you for the liar and coward that you really are” the older man smirked as he realized that they had attracted a crowd but Robert simply smirked because he knew he had enough ammo to completely destroy the man.

“He who is without sin…No one in this village can judge me and they know that” a few people looked away in shame, most likely remembering their own wrong doings “but out of everyone you have the least right to judge me…”

Robert smirked; he was tired of everyone looking at him like he was worse than them when in reality they were all sinners. The Whites in particular always looked down at him like he was the dirt beneath their feet. They were the pinnacle of perfection and Robert was the country bumpkin that Chrissie took pity on. Lawrence was the worst offender but Robert ignored the snide remarks because the man served a purpose ‘but that ship has sailed, there is nothing to hide.’

“…or did you forget that before I met your daughter I met you in a gay bar when you tried to pick me up despite the clear age difference between us…” The gasps hit Lawrence before the words, his eyes widened as he realized what Robert had said “…and let’s not forget the looks you send me even after I started dating your daughter or did you think I didn’t notice your creepy little eyes staring at my…”

“Liar! You filthy liar! How dare you make up such lies, just so no one suspects you kidnapped my daughter!?”

Lawrence cuts a smirking Robert off; there was a wild look in his eyes as he stepped up to the man. Robert could see the terror in the older man’s eyes as Robert pushes him out of the closet like Chrissie did to him. ‘How does it feel, you hypocritical arsehole?’ Despite the craze man in front of him, Robert was calm because he knew that the old man wasn’t going to do anything that was the thing about the Whites they were all talk; they paid others to do their dirty work and never got their own hands dirty, they believed they were above that.

‘That’s why they were never a match for me…’

“Believe what you want but they don’t…” he gesture to the people who he could see were staring at the older man in an almost new light.

“Holy shit! I did not see that coming…”

“So he hated Robert because he wanted him…?”

“No wonder he didn’t want Chrissie to marry him”

“What a hypocrite!”

“Poor Chrissie”

Lawrence began to panic, it felt like everyone was laughing and mocking him. Their words floated into his ears and his mind twisted them so they were worst and sharper than they actually were. Robert watched with a smirk as the older man ran away with his self-righteous tail between his ‘blue blood’ legs. To the side he saw that at some point Aaron had joined the show ‘oh shit! How much did he hear?’ Based on the glare the younger man sent Lawrence, Robert was sure that he heard enough to want to kill the White patriarch.

Robert had learned in the last few days that Aaron was very possessive and hearing that Lawrence had a twisted attraction to him probably did not bode well for the old man. Thinking about what Aaron could possibly do to Lawrence made Robert think about Chrissie and her sudden disappearance ‘which conveniently happened after I told him everything…’ Robert watched as Aaron walked away and while Robert did not do anything to Chrissie he might suddenly know who did.  

‘Why does that not hit me as hard as it should, because he’s definitely not having a tea party with her…?’


“AAAHHHH!”

The blood curling screams of a woman bounced off the walls of a dank and dark basement. The walls almost seemed to vibrate with excitement at her clear and loud pain. Blood seeped into the ground becoming one with the dirt “I wonder if I should get flooring here, the dirt is good for the blood and bits that might fall…” a whimper broke through the musing “…I know it’s more practical but it doesn’t look nice and it’s horrible on shoes, there is also the fact that nothing stays straight.”

Aaron shook the wobbly chair that Chrissie was tied to making the woman flitch and whimper; she was long pass the point of speech. She remembers waking up tied to the chair and the psycho smiling at her “you should’ve left him alone, taken the lost and moved on…” After that she was left without food or water for the whole day. She was half delirious when a sweet looking old woman brought her water and a piece of bread “I’m sorry dear it was all I could find.”

She never explained who she was or what she was doing there “save your breath” and ignored Chrissie’s pleads for help. The next time she woke up Aaron had been there in front of a table that had a big machine and some almost medical supplies. She had been terrified “you know Lachlan was here; he cracked before we started, let’s see if you’re stronger…” after that it was all a blur of shock, literally.

The man connected cables to her body like a lie detector test before pressing a button that send bolts of electricity through her body. He would always tell her what she had done to deserve each bolt; each one was stronger than the previous one. By the time he stopped she had lost her voice and had multiple burn marks all over her body. She was left alone after that until now, Aaron walked in furious and immediately shock her no warning before he started to casually talk about flooring.

Before he had come in the old woman had been dragged out kicking and screaming for finally listening to Chrissie and trying to help. Chrissie heard her screams followed by a gun shot and silence, it was in that moment she felt herself unravel. It was her fault that poor old woman was likely dead and now with Aaron’s return Chrissie was sure that she was going to die. Suddenly they both heard a commotion outside before someone burst through the doors.

“I knew it was you!”

They both turned with widen eyes to see none other than Robert Sugden; the man stared at Aaron with a raised eyebrow before turning to Chrissie. His eyes widened when he noticed the woman’s state “Robert, what are you doing here? How did you find this place?” Aaron seemed to notice the shock and slight panic in the blonde’s eyes so he stepped forward trying to block his view of Chrissie.

“Ro…Plea…”

The woman tried to talk and get her ex to safe her before Aaron killed her, it got her a glare from the younger man that promised more suffering but if she wanted to survive she had to try. “When Lawrence accused me of doing something to her, I started thinking and knowing what I now know of you it wasn’t hard to figure it out.” She didn’t like that the tall man was ignoring the situation that really required his attention. “I should’ve known…” Aaron looked actually impressed and Chrissie was disgusted “you forget Aaron; you’re actually really predictable…at least to me.”

‘Are they actually flirting…!?’

In that moment, Chrissie realized the Robert was just as twisted as Aaron and she was disgusted. “Dad…right…twisted….” She couldn’t get the words out clearly but the two men seemed to understand her “your father is a closeted perv that tried to hit on me before we met so I don’t think he’s the best judge of character.” Robert snapped, angry that even in a moment where he was the only person that stood between her and death, the woman was still acting like she was better than him.

“Robert, you don’t need to be here for this. We’ll meet in my place; don’t worry about the Whites…

Aaron turned back to Chrissie who flinched before pleading at Robert with her eyes. The man could not leave her there no matter what had happened between them, it was just cruel. “Come on Aaron, I think she’s learned her lesson…” Chrissie felt hopeful at those words but they just made Aaron glare at Robert. “Why do you care so much? After how much she’s messed with you, you still care about what happens to her!?”

Aaron could feel jealousy overcome him at Robert’s clear feelings for the woman that had continually torture him and it made him slam the button shocking Chrissie again. Robert flinched at the image and the sounds; he had to look away from the shaking woman until Aaron stopped.

Despite the shock and pain Chrissie was filled with hope, she could use Robert’s feelings for her to save herself “how did you reach that conclusion from just me telling you that’s enough?” Robert raised an eyebrow, annoyed that Aaron would make assumptions so quickly “it’s clear you still can’t let her and what she represents go or else you wouldn’t be here begging me for her life.”

“Begging is a little exaggerated, don’t you think; I simply said that she had learned her lesson. There are other ways to make her pay and make sure she doesn’t step another foot out of line. The police are looking for her Aaron and no matter how many connections you have; someone is bound to start suspecting something…”

“I’ve done this before; I know what I’m doing”

“Yea but you’re not the one everyone is suspecting so forgive me if I don’t want to risk it.”

Robert exclaimed getting angry that Aaron was being so difficult; he just wanted the younger man to agree with him and let the woman go. He was finally ready and willing to live his life, to be happy but he couldn’t do that if Aaron was still adding fuel to the feud fire with the Whites. “Don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to you” as sweet and good as the firm promise felt, Robert couldn’t help but roll his eyes because Aaron wasn’t getting it.

“Urgh! You don’t get it!”

Now it was Aaron’s turn to look confuse, Chrissie long forgotten as he stared at his blond. Robert didn’t want to say the words even though he felt them because they would make things too real and a part of him wanted the option of hiding back in his closet ‘no turning back now.’

“I love you!”

Both Aaron and Chrissie’s eyes widened as the tall blond exclaimed more frustration in his tone than anyone wants from a confession but no less truth and love.

“I want you to stop because I just want to be us; to get a chance to be a couple and not worry about getting revenge on the Whites or anyone else…My whole life has been scheming and manipulating even in my relationships, for once I want something else…” Robert looked into Aaron’s eyes, his expression soften “…with you. You make me feel brave enough to face the world so can we just…move forward?”

Robert sigh at the end his shoulder sagging as if he had been holding those words in all his life and finally he was able to breath. Aaron blinked like an owl as his brain tried to process those words, a part of him also dissected them to try to find lies in them. ‘Can’t blame me, he’s a master in telling people what they want to hear’ but all he saw was honesty; for a brief moment he saw the real Robert, the pre-lashing Robert.

‘Finally…!’

He rushed forward and pulled the man that he loved into a bruising kissing that for once he dominated completely. It felt like hours as their tongues danced and they lost themselves in the taste, feel and smell of each other so much so that they didn’t hear Chrissie’s sound of disgust. ‘Psychos the both of them…’ through the open door she could see Robert’s mutt sitting there like nothing was going on ‘like an idiot…I knew there was something wrong with the mutt too.’

“I love you too, you know?”

“I know”

The two had separated while Chrissie glared at the dumb animal, she turned back to see them smiling at each other with disgustingly dopey smiles. Her eyes widened when Aaron grabbed Robert’s hand and led him out “come on, let’s get out of here and celebrate the official start of us.” As they were about to leave it was Robert that asked the questioned that interested Chrissie “what about her?” Aaron turned to the woman with indifference “someone will come and let her go…” she let a sigh of relief but it was too soon.

“…eventually” Aaron smirked and the two men left the room leaving her behind.


Just like Aaron said Chrissie was let go but eventually turned out to be later that night someone had put a bag over her head after threating her to keep her mouth shut then dropping her at the gates of her house. It was much better than being left in the middle of nowhere to try and find her own way home. Her father had been beside himself and insisted that they take her to a hospital but Chrissie was terrified “I just want to forget this all happened” it was all she said before asking Lucky to help her get upstairs.

She ached all over, her body still trembled slightly and the burn marks were painful but nothing compared to the nightmares that plagued her. She dreamed of the kind woman and her screams unaware that the woman was perfectly alive and well, taking care of the farm she was held in without a care in the world. Every time she woke up from a nightmare screaming her father kept insisting that she see a doctor “at least let me bring one here…?”

But she couldn’t, she just kept thinking about Aaron’s cold eyes and threats from the young woman that let her go “we have eyes everywhere, we will be watching and if you open your mouth we will bring your family here so you can watch them suffer before we kill them…” Some of her nightmares had her father and Lachlan screaming in pain, pleading at her to safe them. She refused to leave the house or even her room and she knew that her family was worried, she even heard her father speaking with her sister Rebecca.

“I’m serious Bex, she’s bad. I don’t know what to do…”


Meanwhile in the village Aaron was proudly showing off his man, he took every chance he could to hold, kiss or just touch Robert. The first day they walked into the pub holding hands the whole placed got quiet “hah! You owe me 50 quib…” before someone exclaimed and then things started moving along. It was almost as if everyone was sure that they were a done deal so they weren’t really surprise to see them together.

They were mainly talking about the timing since it seemed like the whole village was betting on when they would get together so some people lost money and weren’t too happy. That calmed Robert down and he turned back into the smug smarmy prat that Aaron loves instead of the shy and insecure boy that Jack beat. He went about trying to convince the winners that Aaron and he deserved half of their winnings “without us you wouldn’t have that money…”

He drew up a very good point but no one fell for it and Aaron was no help as he just laughed then kissed him when Robert glared. The only hiccup they had was when Robert’s family tried to warn him off “I don’t care that you like men but can it be someone that is not a Dingle.” At least Victoria had made sure that her brother knew that she accepted his sexuality just not his choice in partner.

“That’s really hypocritical Vic since Adam is a Dingle in everything but blood.”

But to Aaron’s surprise and joy Robert defended him and their relationship so he didn’t have to intervene which was good since he had been thinking of ways he could get rid of Victoria without upsetting his boyfriend and he really couldn’t find many. The Dingles on the other hand were all happy that Robert and Aaron were finally a thing especially since they saw the change in Aaron immediately.

The two were practically stuck at the hip with Peritas by Robert’s feet, like a weird little family. Aaron always had an arm or hand around or on Robert and the man seemed perfectly at ease with it for someone who had just come out of the closet kicking and screaming. It was almost natural for them, Robert was a right nightmare with his snark and sarcasm but he made Aaron laugh so everyone put up with it.

They didn’t really have a choice since Aaron turned into Mr. Hyde when someone tried anything with the blond. Nicola learned that the hard way when she took it too far by making a comment about Jack Sugden. The next day the woman had lost her job and was still having trouble finding something new, the only reason she was not dead was because Adam talked Aaron down.

“Mate, you said Robert wants a normal relationship; he’s been pretty accepting but you don’t think he’s going to put two and two together…”

Aaron knew that Adam was right especially when Robert had thanked him for not killing the woman “we already establish that I know you better than anyone, besides I’m learning to read your tells.” Aaron wasn’t sure that was a good thing since he wanted to keep Robert out of the business but Robert had kissed down his chest before taking him into his mouth. That was another thing about their relationship their desire for each other only grew, once he didn’t have to hid Aaron found out that Robert was deviant and brilliantly creative freak.

The man was practically shameless, it was proven when he bent Aaron over and took him on the foot bridge by the Cricket pavilion in broad daylight. Aaron is still wondering how they didn’t get caught especially when he could clearly hear people nearby. Then there was the time when Robert jerked him off while they were sitting on their table for a date in a restaurant in Hotten.

The bastard had not even stopped when the waiter came over to take their order and had just made casual conversation while Aaron tried not to moan. All because the host at the front had clearly flirted with Aaron, it was the first time that Aaron realized that Robert was possessive. Before then Aaron was the only one glaring at people and trying to stake his claim.

There was also the time when they were fucking in his bedroom in the pub early in the morning and his mother interrupted them but Robert still kept going “it’s okay the door is lock she can’t come in…” the woman had though that Robert was a sleep, at that point she wasn’t even asking if the man was staying. “…keep her talking, if you stop I’ll stop” the kinky bastard even made Aaron continued the conversation with his mother until Aaron had to bite his pillow to stop himself from screaming after they both came.

“She doesn’t think I’m good enough for you but I get to defile her son every. single. day…” Aaron knew it was some twist power struggle that Chas had no idea was going on or that she even lost.

After that he couldn’t really look at his mother in the face because all he would think was how deep Robert had been inside him that morning and how delicious the drag of his dick felt. Chas was fortunately none the wiser although she kept snapping at Robert for the smug smirks he sent her.

But besides the sex and kinky adventures Aaron learned that Robert was also a secret romantic, the man was the type of partner that seemed like they didn’t listen to half the things you say but later surprised you with something they heard you say weeks ago that even you forgot. One of those things was at the start of their affair, Aaron had briefly mentioned how he had a friend in school who had been from South Carolina and always talked about the food.

“That was after it started so hearing about this great and close family that sat down to have meals together every day made jealous…”

It was a brief moment that even Aaron had forgotten about but Robert asked for the keys to his place one day –Aaron gave him his own copy- and told him not to show up until he was called. All Aaron had known was the Robert had conned the man Aaron placed to watch him into carrying shopping bags for him.

He wasn’t surprise that Robert figured out that Aaron had order someone to watch him. Robert hadn’t been happy at first but he knew what happened to Jackson so he understood the younger man’s need for it. Especially knowing what his boyfriend did, instead he decided to do what he did best and use it to his advantage.

The big Russian man found himself more in the spotlight than he was supposed to be as his charge sent him on errands which the boss approved as long as Robert was safe and made the blond promise not to ‘lose’ the bodyguard. Despite that the bodyguard was slowly accepting his new normal since his charge was pretty cool, like giving him a plate of what he cooked before the boss arrived.

Aaron had been surprised when Robert greeted him with traditionally southern chicken pot pie then peach cobbler for dessert. “It’s not the same as a family dinner but hopefully Peritas and I are enough…” to Aaron’s amusement there was a dog bowl with chicken pot pie and the dog had on a flannel bandana to match Robert’s shirt. For the first time ever Aaron had laughed and cried in joy ‘this is my family.’ He had kissed his man senseless and even kissed Peritas on the head getting a lick in response.

The three had sat down to enjoy the first of many family meals together –Peritas even got some Peach cobbler ‘not too much since too much sweet is not good for him’ with ice cream obviously- and they talked about meaningless stuff, nothing heavy just everyday ‘normal’ people shit. After that Aaron made sure that at least once a week he made time for them to eat together, Robert would cook and Aaron would reward him afterwards.

The villagers soon became used to Robert and Aaron’s inability to keep their hands off each other, it was common to see them putting all other couples to shame with their passionate make-out session or being in each other’s space whispering or plotting something. Lachlan on the other hand glared from the shadows as the couple pranced around happy while his mother suffered.

He found them disgusting but he wasn’t stupid enough to say that out loud after what Aaron did to him. The teen still couldn’t look at the man without getting shivers, he hoped that the relationship exploded in Robert’s face and he was soon faced with the monster that truly was Aaron Dingle.

It’s been weeks since his mother appeared and the two men got together, they hadn’t stepped foot in the village mainly to not deal with the whispers, questions and gossiping but Lachlan knew that they had to keep up to date with what was going on. It was a good thing he did; as soon as he heard about Robert and Aaron he had rushed back home to tell his mother. He hoped that her anger and hate for the two men would snap her out of the state she was in.

But instead hearing their names made her panic so bad that they were worried that they had to sedate her. It was in that moment of pure terror that she spat out what happened to her, mostly unaware that she was doing it. She told them how Aaron had kidnap and tortured her before Robert came, instead of helping the arsehole confessed his love to Aaron and left her there. Chrissie talked about the nice old woman that died because of her and being threatened to stay silent.

The woman worked herself up so much that she passed out mid-sentence but they had heard enough. Lawrence was terrified “we have to get out of here…” but Lachlan was furious, he wanted revenge “we can’t let them get away with this.” The older man refused to hear reason “did you not hear, those people are psychopaths!? We are getting out of here and meeting Rebecca in Australia.”

Lachlan glared at his grandfather as the man once again showed what a true coward he was, the man even refused to use their connection in the system to send Aaron down. “It’s useless; people like that are usually above the law, it’s why they do the things they do” he knew that in part his grandfather was right. Even Lachlan knew that Aaron Dingle was far too powerful but that also meant that Robert was the weak link and an easier target for revenge, if Aaron really loved Robert than the man’s pain would also hurt him.


Robert was worry, he couldn’t find Peritas and he was beginning to panic. The dog never left his side but he had been doing so well so Robert had let him out into the backyard while he did some work to give the dog a break “Peritas! Come here boy!” He had been calling the dog for a few minutes before he went to look for him but there was no sight of the German shepherd. It was unlike the dog to run off, Peritas wasn’t like other dogs he was trained not to run off.

“Robert what are you doing?”

He didn’t notice when Victoria had arrived, they were meant to have lunch. It worried him more because it meant the he was looking for the dog for almost half an hour. “I can’t find Peritas” he explained “well maybe, he got out. I’m sure he’ll come back.” Victoria didn’t see the big deal, it was a small village after all.

“You don’t get it…! Peritas isn’t like other dogs; he is trained to not leave my side. He wouldn’t just run off…” Victoria could see that her brother was clearly panicking “okay, you’re right just take a deep breath and we’ll find him.”

Victoria was worry that Robert would work himself up and have another episode. An hour into the search Victoria sends a text to Adam as she saw her brother slowly having a panic attack. She wasn’t surprised when Aaron showed up but she couldn’t be mad when she saw the man walked over and pull her brother into his arms.

“Don’t worry we’ll find him, I don’t care if I have to turn the village upside down but I need you to stay strong and trust me…”

“Okay”

Aaron had all the Dingles look all over the village for the missing German shepherd, even villagers not involved began to help. Robert as Aaron asked kept a strong front and made sure to hold it together. They looked everywhere but finally it was Robert who found him lying by the side of the road near the bridge. “Peritas…?” He recognized that fur anywhere so he ran over to see his dog and companion lying on the ground.

At first Robert was terrified but as he grew closer he noticed the dog was awake and the animal whimpered at him when he saw him. “It’s okay boy, I’m here. I got you…” Robert didn’t see any blood or injury but there was clearly something wrong. At 45 Kg the massive dog was not light but to Robert in that moment he weight nothing or maybe he just became the strongest man in the world.

He ran all the way back to village which wasn’t easy with the added weight but all he could think about was getting Peritas to the vets and saving his companion. Peritas could almost tell that his human was panicking and even in a moment like that he was trying to do his job as he licked Robert in an effort to calm him.

“It’s okay buddy, you don’t have to worry about me. It’s my turn to take care of you and I got you…”

Robert’s voice broke and Peritas whimpered the man didn’t know if it was from pain or from the fact he could smell Robert’s panic. “Robert, you found him…!” Victoria saw him first but her smile froze when she saw that there was clearly something wrong “what happened?” She followed Robert who didn’t stop “I don’t know; I need you to tell Paddy we’re coming and that he needs to get ready…”

Victoria for once doesn’t ask she just ran off as fast as she could to the clinic to let Paddy know, fortunately the vet was there. He was ready by the time Robert burst through with the dog in hand “here place him on the table, what happened?” Paddy immediately went into Veterinarian mode “I…I don’t know, I found him by the side of the road near the bridge…” Robert was clearly hanging by a string weaker than a strand of hair.

“Robert I need you to go wait in the front…”

“Come on Rob, let Paddy work.” Victoria tried to steer her brother away from the exam room but he just stared at the weakly whining dog.

“It’s okay buddy…” Robert got on his knees in front of Peritas, he petted the dog trying to assured him “you’re a good boy.”

Robert got a lick in the face for his efforts and Victoria had to bite her lips to stop herself from sobbing. The two siblings left the room to let Paddy work and were soon joined by Aaron. Seeing his boyfriend walked in was almost like the scissor that broke the string, Robert falls into the younger man’s arms. Aaron was shock by the sudden weight but still held the man tightly, he could feel Robert shaking.

Victoria left them alone to have some privacy, with Adam’s help she lets everyone know that they found Peritas and thanks them for their help. To Aaron’s surprise he feels dampness on his shirt where Robert’s face is buried. He had never seen Robert cry even when he talked about what his father did or while on his depressive episode. But Aaron didn’t let that stop him from holding and comforting his man.

It felt like hours before Paddy came out to talk to them “how is he?” it was the first time that Robert spoke or even looked up. The man’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy but Aaron glared at Paddy to make sure that the older man ignored it. “There are no physical wounds except for his side…”

“His side…?”

“It looks like he hit himself or…”

“Someone hit him” Aaron voiced the vets thought with fury in his eyes; he was beginning to piece things together.

“So someone did this to him but how Peritas is not a bloody Yorkie that can just be kicked around!?” Robert exclaimed both confuse and furious that someone would hurt his companion who was innocent to everything.

“It seems like it was something he ate…”

“Something he ate…? He didn’t have lunch yet…” Robert was confused but Aaron wasn’t.

“You think someone gave him something that would make him sick on purpose?”

“What!? Someone poisoned my dog!?”

Paddy couldn’t confirm or deny the accusation but he didn’t need to because his silence spoke loudly. “FUCK!” a furious Robert punched the wall before falling apart as Aaron held him “I will do all I can, I’ll start by pumping his stomach to remove the toxin…” Paddy awkwardly walked away to get back to what he knew.

Aaron held Robert as the man fell apart at the possibility of losing his friend, family and partner. “Who would do something…?” Robert tried to talk put his voice cracked with emotion. “Someone that wanted to hurt you” Aaron responded, he had an idea of who could be behind such a monstrous and underhanded act. 

“Oh that narrows it down…” Robert snapped “everyone wants to hurt me beside you and Vic…” the fight suddenly leaves the man “…I never wanted a war; I just wanted to finally be happy now that I was beginning to be myself…”

 Hearing his strong and normally confident boyfriend sound so defeated and vulnerable froze Aaron’s heart. It was almost like his humanity switch turned off and Aaron wanted blood from whoever made that smarmy voice he loves so much crack. He was furious so when Vic returned with Adam, Aaron left Robert with his sister who was much better at the whole comforting thing and pulled his friend aside.

“This is your first big job as my second; find out who did this immediately and I want them alive or I will burn it all to the ground until I do.”

Adam’s eyes widened, he knew that it would be dangerous to let Aaron run rampant in the village ‘too many bodies to clean up.’ Immediately he got in contact with their people because one he didn’t want to fail Aaron as his new second or as his best friend but also he wanted to find the psychopath that would hurt a dog. Aaron had an idea of who was behind this; it was the MO of a certain teenage psychopath.

‘You want to play with the big boys…fine, I’ll show you how the big boys play.’

Chapter Text

More beast than man

For Adam it was easy to find proof of who had poisoned Peritas, he went to where Robert found the dog and a few feet away found a piece of meat with a bite on it. All he had to do was send it to their labs and had them run some test, not only did they find out what poisoned Peritas but they found fingerprints on the meat. The fingerprints belonged to none other than Lachlan White; Aaron hadn’t been surprise when Adam told him.

“I want him at my feet, alive…now!”

He send a few man to look for Lachlan at Home Farm but to no one’s surprise, Chrissie claimed he wasn’t there and Lawrence refused to let them in to check. Adam saw the curtains in an upstairs bedroom window move. The teen was probably terrified; he was a ‘stabbed you in the back then run to hide behind mommy’ kind of coward.

“We’ll be back, let your son know that there is no place on earth he would be safe…when you see him, of course.”

Chrissie slammed the door in Adam’s face in a fake show of strength, a soon as the door was closed she fell apart. “Oh god…” Lawrence busied himself trying to find a contact that could help them “…what have you done!?” He turned to see Chrissie screaming at a clearly worry Lachlan “I just wanted to make him pay…” at this point the boy was crying. Chrissie grabbed his arms and shook him.

“You know what that man is capable of…Why couldn’t you just let it go!?”

“Your mother is right, we have suffered enough. We could’ve left and never had to deal with those people…”

“Why should they get away with what they’ve done to me…and mum!?” the last part was added almost as an afterthought in self-righteous fury as Lachlan remembers watching the two parade around happy while he and his mother suffered.

‘It’s not fair!’

“You stupid boy! Now you have painted an even bigger target on your back, Dingle is not going to stop until he gets his hand on you”

Lachlan was suddenly back to being a scare little boy as he finally realized the gravity of the situation. It was just like Lachlan to act without considering consequences and like always they had to step in and make everything go away. “Mum, don’t let him hurt me…” Lachlan whined and Lawrence saw Chrissie fold under the kid’s manipulation. Immediately Chrissie devices a plan to safe her son from Aaron’s wrath and it was to hide him away while Lawrence worked on getting them out of Emmerdale.

Chrissie took Lachlan to a cabin on their property just in time, since Aaron’s men returned soon after and stormed her house in search of the teen. “All this for a mutt!? Good riddance…” Chrissie snapped as she heard the reason Aaron was looking for her son. Those words seemed to have reached Aaron’s ears, in a matter of minutes there was a whole manhunt for her son. “If we want to safe Lachlan, we have to move our plans to get out of this cursed village along.”

“I know, I’m trying but none of our contacts are taking my calls.”

Unaware to them Aaron had made sure to cut them off; he made sure that everyone knew that any connection or relation with a White was an insult to him and made them an enemy to the Dingles. On the other hand, Robert had not left Peritas’ side and the fact that the dog was still breathing was most likely the only thing holding the blond man together. He hadn’t really spoken much since they were told Peritas was poisoned and he broke down.

Seeing his lover this way only made Aaron more furious to the point that he put a price on Lachlan and send it to all the assassins in their system with the condition that the price would be double if the kid was alive. It took two days to get a break through and it was Debbie that actually found the teen, she spotted Chrissie late at night as the woman was going on one of her food runs to the cabin. She followed the woman to a cabin deep in the woods and saw Lachlan through the window.


Debbie knew that this was her opportunity to redeemed herself and gain her position back. She would proof her loyalty to Aaron and the Dingle name ‘in this family, one person’s fight becomes everyone’s fight.’ She waited until Chrissie left before stepping over; she charged the Taser she always carried with her so that when the boy opened the door she was ready. Lachlan didn’t have time to react expect for widened his eyes as Debbie slammed the Taser on his stomach.

“If I was you; I would pray that the dog makes it. Consider your life tie to his…”

Lachlan gasped on the floor, eyes widen in pain as he tried to plead to the woman that simply smirked at him. Debbie rolled her eyes at the tears “oh safe it you little psycho, you’re able to poison a dog but now you suddenly have emotions…” Debbie kicked the teen in the stomach before doing the same to his face, growing tired of the crocodile tears.

“Get some balls and face the consequences of your actions like the man you want to pretend to be.”

She shocks the teenager one more time before he lost consciousness; she was a little disappointed that the boy couldn’t take any more. She called some soldier to help her wrap Aaron’s gift; she thought for a moment about calling Adam but decided against it. ‘This is my chance; I can’t let Adam take the credit’ in a matter of minutes she had the boy in the warehouse strapped to a chair.

Aaron was with Robert when he got a text from Debbie with a picture of Lachlan tied up ‘I got you a gift.’ It made him smirk “I have to go take care of something, I’ll be right back…” he whispered to Robert before placing a soft kiss on his head. Aaron didn’t really expect a respond but at least he got a ‘hmm’ which was an improvement. Aaron leaves Adam watching over Robert along with the guards hidden outside, he wasn’t taking any chances.

Aaron wasn’t a fool, he knew what Debbie was trying to achieve. She didn’t find Lachlan out of the kindness of her heart; the woman wanted something in returned. His cousin was trying to get in with him through Robert and while Aaron wasn’t really impressed ‘I would’ve found him with or without her,’ he was willing to let her try.


When Aaron arrived to the warehouse, he noticed the teen had a cut on his cheek and had clearly not been handled gently which gave him a twisted sense of satisfaction. “See despite everything I can still do my job…” Debbie immediately declared confidently as Aaron entered the room, he simply raised an eyebrow “…Let me proof myself again, please.” Debbie was a very competent second in command, not that Adam was bad but he lacked the know-how and training to act without being ordered. Adam was loyal but he was a follower not a leader, Aaron needed his second to be both.

“Fine, tell Pete about your…fling with Ross. You want to compare your relationship to mine then reveal everything let’s see how strong your love truly is…” Debbie’s eyes widened while Aaron smirked “…this is how you can show me that you can follow orders no matter what they are. Besides who knows it might work for you as well.” The last part was added sarcastically as Aaron clearly mocked the shock woman, she wanted to refuse and stand her ground but she remembers how her stubbornness had worked out for her before.

Deep inside Debbie knew that this would destroy her relationship with her husband; Pete wouldn’t forgive her especially since Ross was his brother and it all happened while they were together. But in the last few days she realized that her family and the business were much more important than her relationship with Pete. She leaves Aaron to his fun with Lachlan while she goes home to talk with Pete.


It was always hard to admit when you are wrong but it was even worse to admit that your nosey and often overbearing family was right that was the situation Debbie found herself in. She had gone home to talk to Pete and confess as Aaron ordered, the twins were in school so she didn’t have to worry about them overhearing anything. It was a good thing they weren’t there because Pete didn’t take the news well.

“How could you…!?”

“I made a mistake and you’ve every right to be angry but I love you…”

“Bullshit!” Debbie was taken back by the viciousness in the man’s tone and the glare in those eyes “if you loved me, I would’ve been enough and you wouldn’t have opened your legs for someone else.”

She had never seen Pete so angry; the man was always sweet and kind, that was one of the reasons Debbie fell for him “…just the chum that was docile enough for you to manipulate.” Aaron’s words ran around in her head but she tried to ignore them, still they pushed like an annoying itch that won’t go away.

“Pete please…”

She couldn’t keep the emotion from her voice as her relationship slowly fell apart before her eyes. “…Don’t do this, think of the kids…” she begged as the man packed his things, the words only got her a glared and she was sure that Pete was going to try and strike her. “Did you think about them when you fucked MY BROTHER!?”

She flinched as Pete towered over her, Debbie had never fear any men it came with being a Dingle so it wasn’t fear that made her flinch but being confronted by her own mistakes. She wasn’t use to facing the consequences of her misbehavior because…she was a Dingle, it came with the territory. “It meant nothing but we do. I love YOU and so do the kids, I want YOU to be part of my family…”

This time Pete sneered at her and suddenly she could see the darkness in those eyes, the darknes that her family claimed he didn’t have, it was in the form of spitefulness. “Why would I want to join your dodgy family? I know that the Dingles are up to no good but I thought that I could save you and the children from being pull down that path…”

“What…?” Debbie was shocked, it was the first time she was hearing this “did you really think I would be okay with you or the kids still associating with your family especially Aaron with his temper and when it’s clear they’re all a bad influence?!”

“You wanted to separate me from my family? You thought I would choose you over my family…?” even as she asked incredulously, Debbie knew that she already had even without Pete asking her. She jeopardized her family business and damaged Aaron’s trust on her for this man that wanted nothing to do with them.

‘They were right about him, how could I’ve been so stupid and naïve…’

Debbie berated herself as she finally saw what everyone else saw, Pete was almost condescending in his morality. “…and you are just a whore but knowing who your mother is, I shouldn’t be surprised…” she realized that Pete had continued to talk while she was lost in thought. She tuned in only to hear his hateful words and suddenly she didn’t feel so guilty, in fact she felt a sick satisfaction.

“…So I want a divorce…”

Debbie was already thinking about not only a divorce but a more permanent solution to their separation. No one insulted a Dingle and lived to tell the tale; Pete had not only insulted her but also her entire family. She owe her family an apology especially Aaron, she had just been so desperate for companionship outside of the family that she became stupid with loneliness. She let her family down over a man that wasn’t even right for her, women always felt pressured to be ‘women’ and it was hard not to fall under that weight.

They could only be wild when young but at a certain age the pressure was added and they needed to find a husband and have kids and settle down, if they didn’t they were failures. It was almost like a conditioning that lived in their brains, dormant until they reached a certain age; it was all fed by the archaic and ignorant sexist beliefs. That wasn’t like her, she wasn’t one of those women that let herself fall to the ‘instincts’ everyone thinks women should have.

‘I’m a Dingle woman! We take, control and do what we want. No men or archaic expectations will rule me.’


Chrissie became suspicious when the search for Lachlan seemed to have been called off, she wanted to make sure that her son was okay but her father had stopped her. “It’s a trap; someone is probably watching us and their waiting until we make a move to follow us. You would have led them straight to Lachlan.” It was the only thing keeping her away but as the days passed by her worry just grew.

“I have to go see him and make sure he’s okay”

She defied her father’s advice and two days later she went to see her son to reassure herself that he was fine but when she arrived she saw her worst nightmare come to life, the door was wide open and the cabin was empty “Lachlan…Lucky! Lachlan!” Chrissie could feel herself hyperventilate as she realized that Aaron must have found her son. On the wall she saw the words ‘THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT’ written in blood and she fell apart. She had led them to her own son and now he was most likely dead because of her.

“NO!!!!”

Chrissie doesn’t know how long she was there but she could see that it was dark outside when her father found her. “Chrissie we have to get out of here, they could still be watching the place” Lawrence guided her out of the cabin but all Chrissie could see was Lachlan as a baby, when he would go into her room after a bad dream. She didn’t even notice when they arrived at home farm or when her father got in touch with their lawyer.

“…The Dingles!? That’s who you angered…!?”

“Can you help us?”

“Lawrence no one can help you, hell even the devil himself couldn’t help you.”

“What do you mean?”

“The Dingles are extremely powerful; my advice is that you run as far as you can”

“But Lachlan…”

“If the Dingles have him, he’s as good as dead.”

She just fell into a pit a depression; she could almost hear her baby’s screams as he plead to her to save him. “Mommy please, help me…” and Chrissie let him down, she let the evil man get his hands on her baby. She should’ve listened to her father, the day she met Robert Sugden she was lost and when she accepted his proposal she had doomed her family.

‘I’m so sorry…’

Chrissie heard her father arguing with someone on the phone but she didn’t care, all she wanted was her baby boy back in her arms. “Rebecca I’m not sure what’s wrong with our accounts…of course we should still have money…well Lachlan is missing so there are more important things to worry about…” Lawrence’s anxiety was growing as he felt like the first mate in a sinking ship where the captain was out of commission and it was all up to him.

He was no fool, he knew that Chrissie was in charge; his daughter had the strength and the conviction to be in control that he lacked. It was the way that things had been since Chrissie was 21 and returned from college. Some people were born to lead while others were born to follow; Lawrence was fine with this because at least in front of others he was able to keep up the appearance that he was in charge.

Now that his daughter was out of commission, Lawrence had no idea what to do. Their lawyer refused to help them, their other contacts didn’t picked up his calls and now all their accounts seemed to have been frozen so he couldn’t even buy plane tickets out of England and away from Emmerdale.

“Chrissie you need to snap out of it, we need to do something…” Lawrence pleaded in desperation “…the Dingles are more powerful than we thought, we can’t go against them. Lachlan was foolish for trying…”

“…his weakness…”

“What are you talking about?”

Chrissie suddenly realized that her son had the right idea but he was just a boy, he didn’t have the experience she did. She was a businesswoman and she knew that when going against a powerful enemy you had to find some else to do your dirty work. “Find another enemy that with a little incentive is willing to go against your enemy, then stand back and watch them destroy or weaken them.” Robert’s words played in her mind, she smirked at the irony that the man’s own advice will help her destroy him.


Robert felt like he could breathe for the first time in days, Peritas was awake and had enough energy to eat some wet food. Robert personally hand fed him as the thump of the German Shepard’s tail hitting the back of the metal kennel rang in the room and it was music to his ears. “He’s looking a lot better…” Victoria smiled as she saw her brother relax for the first time in days “…Paddy tells me that he’s on his way to recovery and should be able to go home tomorrow.”

The dog wagged his tail and lifted his head at her voice or maybe it was the bottle of Rosé plushy she had in her hand. “I thought we could celebrate…” it was corny but it got her brother to smile so she counted it as a win. “Where’s Aaron?” she looked around confused since the younger man had definitely proven himself by hardly leaving Robert’s side.

“He had to take care of somethings at work; I was tired of his phone ringing…”

It wasn’t a complete lie, Aaron’s phone had rang but only once and the younger man had kissed his forehead “I have to go take care of something, I’ll be right back.” The part of Robert that was not on the edge of an episode knew that Aaron was most likely going to do something illegal. That the man might have found who did this to Peritas and was going to take care of them, a spiteful part of him got a sick satisfaction out of that.

‘I hope they suffer…’

And unaware to him they did, Aaron was far more devious about Lachlan’s punishment. Instead of beating him, he had order that the teen not be given food or water for a whole day and while a human can withstand more, for a rich spoiled brat a day was too much. The next day the teen was very desperate so Aaron had them prepare a meal fit for a King. 

“You must be hungry, please eat…” Lachlan wanted to be suspicious but he was starving and thirsty “ah before I forget, one of them…” he pointed to the dishes and drinks “…has a little extra, you know since you so love to experiment with food.”

The was yesterday and Lachlan had still not touch the food or drinks for fear that he would get the one that was poison. They all smelled delicious but he knew there was scentless poisons, he couldn’t risk it but having the food in front of him with how hungry and thirsty he was, was messing with his mind. Lachlan was losing it “oh what’s the matter? Are you not hungry?” Aaron Dingle walked in with fake concern in his face.

“I’m not going to make it so easy for you” Lachlan winced as it hurt him just to speak “how ungrateful, this is why I’m not kind…people just abuse kindness…” Aaron ‘tsk-ed’ and shook his head in disappointment.

A man came in pushing a cart while two more came in and cleaned up the untouched food and drinks. “What…?” before he could ask Aaron removed the sheet from the cart and revealed a bunch of medical like tools. “Now we can have fun or at least I can” Lachlan whimpered as Aaron put on some brass knuckles before he swung.


“What have you done with him?”

“I took care of him, that’s all you need to know”

“Aaron, you can’t do another Katie…”

The two men were unaware that they were being listened to by someone else as they argue with each. Aaron had returned to confirm to Robert that Lachlan was the one that poisoned Peritas but not to worry because Aaron had taken care of it. Unfortunately for Aaron, Robert wasn’t as reassured by the news as Aaron expected.

“Why do you care, I thought you were done with that family? I told you what I do and you have accepted it, now it’s suddenly too much…!?”

Chrissie who was the one listening smirked at the fact that she still might have some power over Robert. She had snuck into the vet clinic to possibly catch Robert by surprise; she had seen Paddy leave and knew the man was alone. ‘If Aaron could kidnap Lachlan maybe I could take Robert and offer a trade.’ But what she got was so much better as she had heard Aaron inside arguing with the man.

“Of course I don’t care but I care about you, you muppet! I told you I don’t want a war, I don’t mind teaching the little psycho a lesson…” Chrissie was furious at the statement “…but killing him like you did Katie is only going to prolong this shit show.”

Chrissie had to put her hand on her mouth to cover her gasp, she could not believe that Aaron killed Katie and Robert knew about it. “Robert I told you that I would burn the village down for you if I have to…” Chrissie’s eyes widened “…I want to protect you and I need everyone to know that you are untouchable. In my line of work it’s important, this is who I am and I’m not going to change.”

“I don’t want you to; I just don’t want a trail of bodies to pave our relationship”

“And it won’t, think of it as me getting rid of the rocks on the road”

Chrissie could not believe what she was hearing and even worse that it seemed to be working. The two men were clearly messed up ‘and they dare to call my son a psycho’ not for the first time she was happy to have dodged the crazy bullet that Robert turned out to be. But on a positive note she finally found ammo to make Aaron and Robert pay for what they’ve done to her and her family. The perfect enemy to do the work for her and destroy them both ‘let’s reenact Cain and Abel…’


It was very easy to find Andy Sugden; everyone knew that he had turned into the town drunk. That when he wasn’t in the pub drink himself silly, he was either crying in the cemetery or ranting in the old farmhouse Katie’s body was found. When she didn’t find him in the first two places, she headed to the old Sugden house.

“WHY!? WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME…!?”

His presence was confirmed when she heard angry rants coming from upstairs. Chrissie couldn’t help but smirk, she always thought that Robert’s brother was simple. The man was ignorant and dull-witted, the typical dumb farmer or as the Americans like to say dumb redneck. It was clear that he was jealous of Robert and had a victim ‘poor me’ mentality that she found annoying.

When they first met she understood why Robert hated the man so much, she had grown to find him childish and petty towards Robert and anyone not in the Andy or Jack Sugden fan club. But now she was happy that the man was so simple because it made him easy to manipulate to her benefit. “Andy…” she took a deep breath and put on the mask of ‘sweet damsel in distress’ that she often did to manipulate weak man.

“What do you want?”

“I wanted to see how you were and apologies…”

“Well, can’t you see I’m perfectly fine” Andy snapped and Chrissie flinched back “and why should you apologies? You were just another victim; you have nothing to be sorry for.”

 “Yea but you always knew how bad he was and none of us believed you…”

“Robert was always good at manipulating and fooling people”

“Yea but to cover for the murder of your wife, that’s a whole other level of evil…”

“What…? What do you mean?”

Chrissie smirked on the inside as she saw Andy take the bait; it was just too easy to manipulate the foolish man. “I mean about Aaron killing Katie and Robert covering it up, you…didn’t know? I heard them talking today…” Andy’s eyes widen and she saw as he began to process everything. Chrissie knew the moment it hit when the man stood up and stormed out, the smirk became clear once the man was gone.

“Too easy…”


Andy had stormed out of the farmhouse Katie had her last moments in, he was absolutely furious and he wanted blood. He just kept replaying Chrissie’s words and then thinking about all his previous memories almost as if trying to see signs that he might have missed. He remembered how Robert had gone missing the night Katie died, he thought about how Aaron Dingle had the audacity to show his face the next day.

He thought about how Robert played the victim the whole time while knowing who killed his wife. The blond fooled everyone to cover for his lover and now they were both happily together while Andy drowned in loneliness and despair. They should pay for what they did to him and Katie; they should suffer and feel some of his pain.

‘Katie, I’m so sorry I didn’t listen to you. You warned all of us but we ignored you…’

Andy could feel the guilt become almost suffocating as he walked aimlessly around the streets of Emmerdale. Then almost as if a sign from his dead wife, Andy caught the sight of Robert walking by himself. The man hadn’t left the clinic for the last few days until he was force to by Victoria or Aaron.

“Robert!”

The blond turned to see Andy storming over to him with fire in his eyes and he just rolled his eyes thinking that Andy was coming to blame him for all his problems again. “Andy I’m not in the mood to be your scapegoat right now…” suddenly Robert was on the floor with a bruise forming on his face trying to process what happened.

But before he could even try Andy was on top of him raining hits on a vulnerable and surprised Robert. “You bastard! How could you do this to me?” Robert finally got a hold of Andy’s hands, stopping him from raining any more blows. “What the hell are you talking about? Have you gone barmy!?” Robert kicked Andy off of him touching his lip which was bleeding, he was definitely going to have bruises and feel it all in the morning.

“That ploy is not going to work on me, the way you used it on Katie. She was trying to expose you and you let him kill her!”

For a brief second Robert’s eyes widened before he hide it and make sure not to give anything away “mate, you’re plastered…you have no idea what you’re talking about.” Robert was hoping that Andy was just guessing; he couldn’t know what happened that night ‘no one but Aaron and I knew.’ “Don’t patronize me! I know the truth, I know Aaron killed Katie and you knew all this time. Hell, you probably helped him hide it all…”

The small amount of guilt Robert fell for the suffering his brother was going through made him let Andy shove him and even get another swing. “You took everything from me! You could never see me happy, you always had to ruin it…” another shove as Robert let the man rant “…but murder is a new low even for you.”

Finally his guilt could only allow him to handle so much before he snapped “that’s enough! You have no idea what you’re talking about. You’re making some grave and baseless accusations that could ruin an innocent man’s life.” Robert pushed his brother back and due to his drunken state, Andy easily tumbled over. “I know exactly what I’m saying…” Robert decided to take advantage of Andy’s alcohol loosen lips to get some information “oh yea, where’s your proof?”

“Chrissie heard you and the bastard confess everything, she actually tried to apologies for your betrayal…She really was too good for you.”

“Right, my bitter ex heard some damaging confession and out of the goodness of her heart told the man who has always hated me…No, that doesn’t sound suspicious at all…”

“…”

“…Go home Andy before you embarrass yourself anymore and stop listening to every person that has an arse to grind with me otherwise you might lose your mind…or what’s left of it.”

Robert casually walked away leaving a plastered Andy on the floor trying to get his balance back. Robert seemed completely at ease but deep inside he was panicking, he knew that he had to talk to Aaron before Andy opened his big mouth. Once he had lost sight of Andy, Robert picked up the phone and called his boyfriend.

“We need to talk, now”


 “Andy knows about Katie”

The last thing that Aaron expected when Robert called him and demanded they met in his flat in Hotten was for the man to storm in covered in bruises. They had been arguing about Aaron still having Lachlan and wanting to kill the teen. Robert had been firmly against it but they were both too stubborn so after a while of neither of them backing down Robert stormed out. Aaron stayed behind and waited for the older man to calm down and return when he got the call.

He had figured that they were going to continue their conversation about Lachlan but instead a bruised and bloody Robert stormed in. The older man had a bleeding cut on his lip, a bruise on his cheek and a black eye; those were the only ones visible. Seeing his man hurt snapped something inside Aaron, it was clear the injuries were inflicted by another person.

‘Someone dared lay a finger on him…!’

“Who did this to you?”

Robert either ignored or didn’t notice the dangerous tone in Aaron’s voice as the man frantically push his question that was more of a demand aside. “Forget that, did you not hear me Andy knows what happened with Katie. He knows you killed her!” Aaron wasn’t at all bothered by the news instead he continued to focus on the blonde’s injuries. The younger man caressed each bruise and cut making Robert wince. Aaron led the man inside and sat him down on the sofa before taking out his phone and sending a message.

“Aaron, are you listening to me?”

“Have you told me who did this to you?”

“…”

“Then no, I am not”

Robert glared at the man, not appreciating the sassiness or snark; he was going to express this to Aaron when the doorbell interrupted them. Robert was confused since Aaron doesn’t really get unexpected guest here, for a brief moment he panicked thinking that it might be Andy or worse the man had already told the police and they were coming to arrest Aaron. Before he could express his concern to the man, Aaron got up and opened the door.

Instead of the police, Aaron returned with an older woman walking behind him. The woman carried a black bag and Robert raised an eyebrow but Aaron simply pointed to him. The woman kneeled in front of Robert before opening her bag revealing to be a doctor. “I’m fine, it’s just a few bruises” Robert rolled his eyes at Aaron’s concern and protectiveness although a part of him actually loved it.

It had been a long time since Robert had someone cared and want to protect him so fiercely ‘not since mum…’ “You want me to listen then let the doctor look you over” Aaron crossed his arms, it was clear that his request was non-negotiable. Robert knew that he wasn’t going to win this battle so he folded and accepted the compromise.

Aaron smiled at the pout from the blond; it was adorable although he would never tell the older man that, he liked having sex too much to risk it. The doctor asked no questions and simply got to work, at first she was not too gentle but a wince from Robert followed by a hard glare from Aaron had her changing her bedside manners. The woman gently cleaned Robert’s bleeding wounds; she put butterfly bandages on the bigger cuts besides the one on his lip.

“The wounds aren’t serious; they should heal with some time and cleaning. Ice the bruises and some over the counter medication should be enough for any pain.”

“Any scarring or lasting damages…?”

“No sir, it’s all relatively superficial and should all be gone within a few days.”

“Good, you’re dismiss”

“Yes boss”

The woman practically bowed to the younger man which was laughable considering her age and profession versus Aaron’s younger age and lack of profession. Aaron didn’t even flinch as the woman walked away almost as if in the presence of a King. Robert realized that this was mafia boss Aaron Dingle, he had been worried about meeting this side of his boyfriend but looking at him now he realized it was still his Aaron.

He could see the difference, in the sense that his Aaron shown more emotions and mafia boss Aaron seemed cold and blank but they were still his Aaron because they both held that fierce passion and strength that comes from the pain and suffering in those eyes that Robert fell in love with. “Now will you listen to me before my brother sends you to jail” Robert spoke as he followed Aaron into the kitchen.

“That’s not possible” Aaron simply waved Robert’s worries away which made the older man glare at him.

“Now is not the time to be arrogant…”

“It’s not about arrogance, its facts. I have the resource and connections to keep me out of jail”

Aaron put a glass of water and two pills in front of the older man, Robert took them and swallowed them on autopilot. “It can still cause problems especially if he starts running his mouth around the village” Robert continued to follow Aaron as he tried to convince him that this is serious and they should do something.

“Well does he have any proof?”

“No, Chrissie heard us arguing at the clinic and ran over to snitch, no doubt as some form of revenge for you taking Lachlan although if she were smart she would have used the info to blackmail you into letting the psycho go.”

“Good thing she’s not smart or has that brilliant brain…” Aaron smiled and pointing at Robert’s head “…on her side.”

Despite his casual tone on the inside Aaron was burning, he was pissed even more when Robert winced as they kissed. He was done playing around with the Whites, for Robert he was going to eventually let the psycho go and let the family run with their tails between their legs. But Chrissie pushed him too far and now she would have to deal with the consequences.


Chrissie smirked as she kept replaying Andy beating Robert; it was so satisfying to see her ex get what he deserved. Her father was scared when she walked into the house laughing like a maniac “Chrissie, dear…are you okay…?” The man asked with clear trepidation in his tone, he was worry that his daughter had finally lost her mind. He knows that she had been through a lot but his daughter had always been strong, she was a warrior and nothing broke her.

“I’m perfect father, for once things are finally turning out way…”

Lawrence was confuse although a part of him hoped that finally things were going their way, that maybe they would get a win against those that wished to destroy them. He wasn’t sure how much was left in him “really…? How so?” Chrissie walked confidently to the bar and pour herself a drink; there was an air of arrogance around the woman.

It was like seeing her go back to being her normal self, the strongly independent and fiercely confident businesswoman that was the pillar not only holding the family but pushing them to new heights. “I just dealt a fatal blow to Robert and Aaron; soon they will be at our door begging me for forgiveness…” Lawrence smiled for the first time in what felt like months “…I’m sure we will have Lucky back in no time.”

“That’s wonderful! How did you…?”

“Let’s just say I found their dirty little secret”

“Oh wonderful! You blackmailed them in exchange for Lachlan…?”

“…”

The silence that followed was not at all reassuring “Chrissie, please tell me you used that information wisely and didn’t just let your emotions get the best of you and wasted it on some petty revenge…?” The fact that his daughter’s shoulder sagged and she avoided his eyes was enough of a response. The thing about Chrissie was that while she was brilliant she was also very emotional and often let her emotions influenced her more than she should, it was the complete opposite to Robert and the man wasn’t shy about pointing out when Chrissie was too emotional and should take a step back which worked wonders on his daughter. Just like that all of Lawrence’s hope flew out the window, they had finally had a winning hand and instead of using it wisely, his daughter showed it to brag.

“He deserved it! I will never regret seeing Robert get thrashed…” Lawrence rolled his eyes at the foolishly immature and petty response. “Not even when it causes your son his life…!? Or our freedom and reputation…!?” Chrissie looked down in shame and guilt “Chrissie, you need to let this man go, we have bigger problems to worry about. One of the few loyal contacts I have told me that the Dingles are practically a mafia and a powerful one at that…”

Suddenly her response was cut off by the sound of her phone; she was going to ignore the video call until she saw that it was a call from Lachlan. She thought that maybe Aaron had really let her son go ‘maybe Andy’s beating to Robert really scared them…’ she thought with a smirk ‘…mafia huh…can’t be that powerful if they fold so easily…’

 That arrogance was short lived when the called open to reveal a battered and beaten Lachlan. One of the teen’s eyes was swollen shut and his lips were red and wet with a combination of blood and drool. He had cuts and bruises all over and as he opened his mouth to pant harshly, she could see that his teeth were completely red instead of white or yellow, some were even missing.

There were clear tear stains that cleared his face as more rushed out; the whimpers from her baby boy broke her heart. “Lucky!” she exclaimed getting her father’s attention who gasped at the image on the woman’s phone “Lachlan…!?” This got the teen’s attention and he turned to them with his one good eye “mum…?”

“Oh Lucky, what has that monster done to you?”

The boy just whimpered and he seemed so much younger in that moment, no longer the rebellious and gobby teen he actually was. “Mum, please…I want to come home…” The teen’s whimpers turned to sobs and Chrissie was sobbing right there with him. “It’s going to be okay baby, I’m going to get you out…” a loud bang cut her off and Lachlan’s head fell to the side, his eye was wide open and lifeless.

“AAAHHH…!”

There was a clear hole in the side of his head with slight smoke coming out of it as well as other things but Chrissie couldn’t see because she had dropped her phone. Lawrence had ran away to expelled everything in his stomach in the kitchen sink. “Mothers love little white lies…” the voice coming from her phone made had pick it up to see an uninterested Aaron “…of course this might have been a little bigger than a white lie.”              

“Why…?”

Chrissie didn’t recognize her own voice as it broke and was stricken by grief and immense pain she had never felt before. “You fucked up Chrissie; you should’ve let things go, you weren’t ready to go against me…” Aaron flipped the phone’s camera back to the teen’s dead body making Chrissie flinch and turn away.

“You threw the first shot but be sure that I will throw the last one…”

 

Chapter Text

Hello everyone, 

Okay so this is an update about the previous note, first of all I wanted to thank everyone for the good vibes and wishes sent my way 🥰🥰 unfortunately it was no match for my bad luck. Turns out the issue was the hard drive which was where all my info was stored. My brother tried to save something but big brother could not come to the rescue this time so everything was lost.( My finished novel, multiple stories both fanfic and for publishing and everything else I had stored😭😭😭 ) I don’t want to talk too much about it because I’m dealing with it in a healthy way...by ignoring it until I can laugh about it 🤞😅

...Anyways what this means for this story and you guys is almost nothing, like I said I won’t abandon these stories especially now (they’re the only thing keeping me from losing it🤬😤😵). I do have to rewrite the chapters that I had already written and because I don’t have a photogenic memory they will most likely be very different (which will mean nothing to you guys since you hadn’t read them yet🤣) I’ll use my notes (thank god for my obsession with notebooks and writing everything down) and what I remember from those chapters to try and recreate them but they would definitely be different but I might repeat myself or change somethings by mistake. I’m rereading the chapters I already posted to avoid that but I’m only human so it would definitely happen.

I bought a new laptop and it arrived a few days ago so I started rewriting the chapters already and was able to make headway.  I will be able post a new chapter either by the end of this week or next week as promised in my previous note. My goal was to take these notes down once the issue was resolved but since I’m rewriting the future chapters I’ll leave this one up since it will explain any possible discrepancies in future chapters (I’ll delete the first one.)

 

I promise this should be the last note, the next update will be a new chapter 🤞😅

Chapter Text

The warm sun of Barcelona made Robert feel rejuvenated like he was back years ago when he first lived here with his grandmother. It was a time when he was finally getting the hang of his disorder and finding a new normal. He had just gotten Peritas and told his gran about everything while slowly beginning to try and possibly accept his sexuality, in Barcelona life had been good. Those are the memories he got from the warm weather and bright sun, putting him in a great mood, it helped that Aaron splurge on first class.

Although Robert wasn’t stupid, he knew that there was a reason Aaron wanted to get him out of the village; a storm was no doubt coming and he didn’t want Robert to get caught in it. He’s under no misconception that Aaron did nothing to the little psycho that poisoned Peritas and Robert couldn’t find it in himself to care or have an issue with it. When he found out about the Dingle family business he knew what he was getting into and while he’s not sure he wants to be part of that world, he’s okay with Aaron being part of it as long as he was still his Aaron. A town car waited for them outside the airport and Robert smiled even wider. 

“You really went all out.”

“What...you telling me you have an issue with being spoiled?” 

“Oh no, by all means spoil away”

“I thought so”

Aaron smirks at the blond knowing that he could possibly be creating a monster, Robert has no idea how much money and resources Aaron had at his disposal. Once he sees that Aaron could give him the life he always wanted, he might expect this sort of treatment all the time. But Aaron couldn’t find it in himself to really care as he saw the bright smile on Robert’s face. It was the brightest he’s seen the man smile in public, that wasn’t smug or smarmy. Peritas seemed to feed off his human’s happiness, the dog was sniffing and looking around excitedly like a puppy.

He remembers Adam showing him pictures of humans that looked like their dogs and Aaron couldn’t help but chuckle because at that moment Robert and Peritas looked so much alike. “What?” down to the slight head tilt but he wasn’t crazy enough to tell the blond man that “nothing, it’s just good seeing you be so carefree…” He expected Robert to close off but instead the older man gave him a soft smile “this was the one place I always felt safe to be myself and free to explore…” Aaron always wants to see that soft look and joy in Robert’s eyes. ‘and if we have to move to Barcelona for that...then I better start working on my Spanish.’

They walked over to the official man with a sign with Robert’s last name, for security they couldn’t use Aaron’s. And Robert was almost overwhelmed. First was the flawless check in where for once Robert didn’t have an issue with Peritas, usually there was always some issue either from skeptical check-in agents or new agents unsure of what to do. Although he missed the glare Aaron was sending everyone behind his back, almost as if daring them to cause trouble. Then they were being escorted through security to the first class lounge where he got a massage and one of the masseuses even gave Peritas a rub, focusing on the belly, that the dog thoroughly enjoyed. 

When they were taken to the gate for early boarding again Robert expected some trouble but he got none at least from the staff, passengers were another thing but he was used to it. He didn’t fit people’s view or expectations of a disable person or someone that would need a service dog so he always got lots of glares from the cowards and snide comments from the arseholes. “I’m used to it, people will always have an opinion especially on the things they have no knowledge of. There are always those that abuse the system and unfortunately we all pay for those that want the easy way, sympathy, attention or are just plain entitled arseholes…”

Robert explained to Aaron when the younger man noticed the stares and heard a comment from an older couple expressing their outrage at Peritas’ presence when Robert was clearly not blind. That was the only downside to the trip so far but he heard that the couple had issues with security and missed their flight although something tells him that Aaron had something to do with that so if he snogged the man extra hard when they were seated that was his business. Peritas was in heaven on the plane as he got room to stretch and take a nap instead of sitting between Robert’s long legs.

The first class was mostly empty so they all had plenty of room although Robert spent most of it whispering filthy things in Aaron’s ears that had the younger man glaring at him before going to the bathroom a couple of times to ‘arrange’ himself. He had been teasing the man so much that he wasn’t surprised when he rushed their driver, all Robert could do was laugh and enjoy the sights. ‘It’s good to be back, Gran is going to be so happy…’


While Aaron was away enjoying a much needed ‘honeymoon’ ( AN: chill guys they're not married yet, I might forget some things but not that ) Debbie dealt with the fallout of her confession. Pete had wasted no time in throwing their dirty laundry out in the open when he attacked a guilty Ross. He made sure that everyone heard him loud and clear about how much of a whore Debbie was like her mother and how much of a traitor his own brother was. This public display did not make the Dingles happy and her father even offered to have him taken care of.

“No, I got myself into this mess and I will get myself out.”

It was no longer pride or arrogance, Debbie knew that she had to deal with the consequences of her actions so that she never repeated the same mistake again. The humiliation would remind her to never again let a silly thing like people’s expectations make her lose sight of what she wanted no matter what others said she should. She knew that she had to prove herself not only to Aaron but also to the family. Especially because Aaron had still left Adam incharge when he left although he left Debbie as his back-up so that was an improvement. She wanted to handle it all diplomatically for the sake of her kids but when Pete sat them down and told them what happened without consulting her, she lost it.

“How dare you speak to my children without my permission!?”

“They needed to know, you can’t hide the truth from them!”

“That was not your right to tell them! I am their mother and I will tell them whatever the bloody hell I want. You are no one, you have no rights and you never did so how about you remember your place before I remind you.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“You will learn that my ‘dodgy’ family doesn’t waste time threatening, we make promises. You are messing with the wrong person Pete, for the affections I have for you I suggest you step back.”

“There it is the crass Dingle thug, I thought you were different but I guess I was wrong.”

The man glared at her in disappointment but she no longer cared, her family had been so right that it was almost painful. She couldn’t help but feel jealous that Aaron had Robert before she realized that she didn’t really need or want anyone, she had her children and that was enough. Contrary to popular belief a woman doesn’t need a man or partner to be happy ‘just a body to scratch the itch is enough for me. Hell at this point I’ll settle for a good toy’ In that moment she decided that it was time for Pete to go, whether he wanted to or not. 

Once again for her children’s sake she didn’t have the man murdered, Jack and Sarah weren’t old enough to understand or learn about the family business so it would be hard to explain ‘unless I make it look like an accident…’ Debbie shook her head, a part of her still cared for Pete and knew that the man wasn’t a threat to them so she found another way. She called in a favor and in a few days Pete was offered his dream job across the country. No one was surprised when the man accepted but Debbie’s family kept sending her looks.

She knew they wanted Debbie to deal with things differently but Aaron left it up to her so none of them pushed too hard. The most shocking part was the lack of ‘I told you so’ when she gathered them all to apologize. “Everyone makes mistakes when they're starting out, just make sure that with time mistakes are less common…” Chas declared calmly “you need more training” while her father was a little harsher with his comments. She knew that her father took her mistakes almost personally because he trained her and if she messes up then he messed up. Debbie felt even guiltier because her father was a great teacher and he had done a great job, she just lost herself in trying to fit into a mold that she really had no interest fitting in to begin with.


In Home Farm, Chrissie was inconsolable as she mourned the loss of her son and she realized that it was all her fault. She was the one that brought Robert into their lives, she was the one that despite her father’s advice kept him there, she thought it had been a good idea to come to this godforsaken town and most of all she was the one that refused to run when she had the chance. Her father had constantly been on the phone with their contacts trying to get help but they all turned their backs on them. 

Even the police refused to listen and tried to give them the runaround. “We will send someone over as soon as possible.” That had been yesterday and no matter how much Lawrence called his call was always either placed on hold or cut off. When he did reach someone they apologized and told him the same thing. They lost hope in getting any help and Chrissie in being able to find her son’s body so that she could put him to rest like he deserved. “You know this is your fault, you should’ve been the one with a hole in the head.” Since she woke up the image of her son followed her everywhere she went and it was slowly driving her mad.

Lawrence had heard that Robert and Aaron had gone off on Holiday ‘no doubt to escape the consequences of their actions.’ No matter how much power Aaron had, even he could not explain away a hole in the head. The police would see that it was murder and would have to do something about it. Lawrence hoped he was present when they led the men away in cuffs for all to see ‘like the criminals they are.’ Unknown to him Aaron had already thought of that, for this reason someone took Lachlan’s body and placed it in a car before throwing it off the quarry and waiting until it lit on fire before making a call.

“It’s done.”

Minutes later the police got a call from someone who had seen a car drive off the quarry “it seemed on purpose because it stood there for a while before driving off. I tried to call out but it was too late…” Another call complained about spelling burnt rubber and officers were dispatched to the scene finding mostly charred remains of a car and a body that was barely recognizable. “We have a 10-56, send the coroners and the firefighters to put that out before there is nothing left for the family to bury.” 

The officer in charge was seen making a call and having a whispered conversation with the person on the other side “we got it, we’ll make sure that everything is set for the family.” The call seemed simple enough but on the other side Debbie smirked as everything fell into place. Aaron had entrusted her with dealing with the fallout of Lachlan’s death so she’s happy that it all went smoothly as their contact in the department got their hands on the body just like they planned.

The next day an officer knocked on Home Farm and Lawrence was handed an urn and given a “we’re sorry for your loss.” The man was too shocked to say anything as the officer walked away “package was delivered” he made the call from his car before driving off. With those words the Lachlan issue was taken care of and if the Whites were smart they would run while Aaron was away. “Who was it?” Chrissie’s voice jarred him from his shock as he turned with the urn and the woman completely broke down as she saw what was in her father’s hands.

She took it from him and caressed it as if it were her son “oh my baby, how could they do this to you…?” The woman walked away as Lawrence was overcome with a righteous fury “they had no right, they were supposed to consult us before cremating him!” Lawrence immediately searched for his phone “I’m going to sue the whole department, when I’m done with them…” Chrissie tuned her father’s ranting out as she softly spoke to the remains of her son. “You didn’t deserve this...mommy is sorry…” As she walked away a paper fell off the bottom drawing her attention, it was a note that filled her with a fury equivalent or stronger than her father was feeling.

YOU HAVE GIVEN ME SO MUCH SO I TOOK THE LIBERTY OF TAKING CARE OF THIS FOR YOU. I KNOW HOW EXPENSIVE FUNERALS CAN GET...ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF MULTIPLE ONES SO THINK NOTHING OF IT.

BEST WISHES,

AARON


Aaron was about to explode, literally, if Robert didn’t stop asking questions and got to the room “...the pool also has an amazing view especially at sunset…” and the front desk agent was a little too friendly for his liking. He could see the appreciative look she sent his blond when they first arrived at Hotel Arts. “...And you have the penthouse which has amazing views…” Aaron knew that Robert was doing all this to tease him, the smug smirk was clear on the man’s face. So Aaron could not be faulted for grabbing Robert and rudely pulling him away. 

“We have to go, now!”

He’s sure that were it not for Robert’s laugh the agent would probably think that Aaron was abusive or something. “That was rude, she was very helpful” Robert claimed once they were away from the front desk and heading towards the elevators “I don’t care, and she was ‘helpfully’ checking you out.” They had the elevator to themselves so Robert leaned in “can you blame her?” the blond bit his ear before soothing the bite with his tongue “I’m irresistible.” 

“The hell I can, either she keeps her eyes to herself or I take them away.”

Robert has no doubt that Aaron meant that and it shouldn’t turn him on as much as it did, he turned the man around and crashed their mouths together. Aaron responded with the same passion and a level of desperation that had them both ready to throw caution to the wind and get it over with right there. Fortunately the elevator announced that they had arrived and Peritas pulled on the leash almost as if to say ‘stop snogging like teenagers and let's go.’ The room was bright and spacious, Robert had stayed in nice rooms but nothing this nice.

He had no time to enjoy it or really look around because Aaron slammed him against the closed door “ enjoy the view later…” the desperate man said before crashing their lips together once more. It only took seconds for Robert to get behind that idea, his hands traveled down Aaron’s back and settled on the younger man’s arse. He squeezed it possessively, getting a moan from Aaron and just like that Robert was back in control. He pushed Aaron into an entry table lifting him up to sit on it but the younger man had another idea as he wrapped his legs around Robert’s waist.

“Rob, I don't think I can make it to the room…”

Robert had been teasing him the whole time but the truth was that he was also at his limit so he had no problem sticking his hand inside Aaron’s pants in search of that special ‘there it is.’ He smirked at the breathy moan Aaron gave, the man was so sensitive to Robert’s touch and he loved it. To Robert’s pleasant surprise he was met with no resistance when he pushed a finger in “someone has started without me…” and suddenly he imagined Aaron in the plane bathroom trying to keep quiet as he fingered himself.

“What did you expect, with you teasing me…”

“You know I always deliver…”

“That's why I didn’t finish…”

That was an even bigger turn on, that Aaron had given him so much control and trust to wait for Robert to get some release. “Such a good boy” he pushed a second finger in and just made Aaron moan louder, in the sofa Peritas ears twitch as the dog just seemed exasperated by the loud roommates. Although he was used to it his human and his mate were always in heat which was a little worrying but humans were confusing so he didn’t give it too much thought.

“Fuck Rob, I’m not going to last.”

“Yes you are, because if you don’t I’m going to torture you the whole trip and not let you cum until the day before we leave.”

“Fuck!” 

Aaron bit his lip and thought of everything possible to stop himself from cummin ‘and they call me cruel…’ He knew that Robert wasn’t bluffing, the man had a deliciously sadistic streak that Aaron both loved and hated. He remembers the day Robert kept him on edge and only let him cum late at night, with an orgasm that knocked him out. ‘Bad idea, don’t think about that…’ he went back to trying to think about none sexy things but Robert’s scent and the feel of him overwhelmed his senses.  “Hold on tight” was all Robert said before he let go of Aaron and began to walk with two fingers still inside the younger man.

“Robert what the hell…?”

The older man wiggled the fingers inside Aaron as he walked “hmmm...there is the table, the island…” the man spoke casually as if Aaron wasn’t a moaning mess hanging by a threat. Aaron tried to process what was going on but those delicious long fingers and the frictions of Robert moving and making his cock rubbed against the blonde’s abs made it impossible “...oh look maybe the stairs but that won’t be comfortable…the bed’s pretty far away.” It took him an embarrassing long time to realize that Robert was trying to figure out where to fuck.

“Just pick some place!”

“The bed it is”

Of course the sadistic prat had to choose the farthest place and walk slowly so that Aaron lost the remaining functioning brain cell on the way. He was just one ball of pleasure “oh look the room has a view and they put a nice spread…” At this point the man was just being cruel “ROBERT!” The chuckle was proof of that, Aaron wasn’t sure how he did it especially when he could feel the man’s hard-on. Soon he was on the bed naked a development that he skipped on but was happy for. Robert was shirtless so Aaron got the pleasure of seeing those delicious stars that littered the man’s body and he loves so much.

Once in bed Robert was doting and meticulous, unfortunately he removed the fingers from inside Aaron but he kissed and marked every part of his body paying extra attention to the younger man’s sensitive and erect nipples. ‘Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit...I’m going to lose my mind…’ His dick was painfully hard at this point and Aaron was no longer above begging, if he could only regain speech functions. Robert went down his body taking Aaron’s dick deep in his mouth 

“AAAHHH!”

To his utter embarrassment Robert only sucked once before Aaron burst in his mouth, the blond man swollen it all and continued to suck until Aaron whined from overstimulation. Watching Robert lick his lips had Aaron’s hole aching to be filled “can we check the pool now?” Robert playfully asked with that smug smirk on his face “don’t even think about it. Get inside me, now!” Aaron demanded, surprised that his voice worked; Robert leaned over and kissed him, giving him a taste of himself. ‘That should not be so hot…’ 

He had no time to think as the fingers were back with a vengeance and they brought a friend equally as eager and long. “Rob, you’re going to kill me…” it was by no means a complaint “nah, I think I’ll keep you. Everyone needs a hobby...mines just happens to be ruining you.” The words were followed by a sharp poke to his prostate “FUUUFF!!!” Once more Aaron was pass the point of coherent thought or speech “I don’t think that’s a word…” One day Aaron is going to ask the man how he keeps his cool and still drive Aaron crazy.

“Rob plea...please…”

“Oh well, since you asked so nicely.”

Something much thicker was soon pushing at the ring of muscles and Aaron rejoiced that there was no barrier. Robert teased Aaron a lot but the truth is that he was hanging by a thread, all the sounds that the younger man was making had Robert feeling as desperate as Aaron sounded. The thing was that Robert wasn’t a selfish lover, no matter what others said and he could keep his head by focusing on his partner’s pleasure. He’s had some selfish lovers and he knows that is no fun so he swore to himself that no matter how brief the encounter he would never be a selfish lover.

“Robert!”

With a whine from Aaron, Robert refocused and pushed deeper into the tight heat that he loves so much and would gladly make a home in ‘should give that a try…’ Soon he was fully inside the man and they both sigh in pleasure as if both felt a relief from being connected. Robert was too far gone to tease anymore so he began moving, speeding up as his control snapped. Soon the only thing holding Aaron in place was his vice grip on the sheets and Robert’s hands on his waist that would no doubt leave bruises. ‘I hope they do…’ Robert thought possessively while Aaron lost himself in the pleasure of being marked ‘Oh fuck I won’t be able to look at those without getting turn on…’

Robert’s thrust became frantic, like a wild animal and Aaron just knew he would be out of commission for the rest of the day ‘it’s a good thing we arrived so late…’ “Rob…” Aaron chanted the man’s name like a prayer to his God while Robert said words that would make a sailor blush. “Fuck you take me so well....perfect, made just for me…I love you” those words set Aaron off, such a powerful second orgasm so close to the first made him black out. When he came to he was a little disappointed to have missed Robert cummin but feeling the man’s cum inside him, slowly sliding out made it slightly better.

“You are such a fucking tease…” Aaron’s voice was hoarse, he didn’t realize he used it so much, he wondered how loud he got.

“Only a tease if I don’t plan to follow through and I as we both know...”

“Yea yea, you always follow through” Aaron whined as Robert smacked his sensitive arse.

“Don’t get sassy with me, I can still go another round.”

“If that’s a threat, hate to break it to you mate but that’s not really terrifying.”

“It is with what I have planned…”

They did not leave the room for the rest of the day until Peritas needed his walk, Robert surprised Aaron with a nice bubble bath and carried his sore body to the tub. “Relax, no need to pretend you’re too manly for some comfort…” It was sweet and romantic and once the man left the room Aaron let himself smile like a love sick fool and enjoy his bath “I saw that!” Robert claimed from the living room “muppet.” Moments like this one was why Aaron fell so fast and so hard for the blond man.

Robert treated him like he was loved and worth the effort, not like he was needed like his family did or like he was a favorite broken toy like his sperm donor did, but like he was appreciated and wanted. With Robert, Aaron was not so broken almost as if the jagged pieces were being smoothed out to make him whole again. From aftercare to bringing Aaron little things to cooking for him when they became official, they were little things that made it impossible for Aaron not to fall head over heels.

He dozed off in the warm bath and to his surprise when he woke up the water was still warm. “You were in deep when I came in so I turned on the hot water before the coolness woke you up.” He looked up to see Robert smiling at him in a ro be. “Well, what are you waiting for, join me…” the blond raised an eyebrow  “and bathe in your filth, no thanks.” Aaron wondered why he fell in love with such a snobby and pretentious “I ordered room service, garlic and onion steak with cheesy potatoes ( AN: Made myself hungry with this one )”Aaron licked his lips as his mouth watered at the thought ‘and that’s why.’

The two ate after Robert showered while Peritas took a nap. Robert always makes sure to wear the dog out for his evening walks “he sleeps better that way and doesn’t wake me up too early.” ( AN: Not sure if this is true, I had a dog but she died a few years back and I was too scared to take her out too late at night so my dad handled that. To the lucky ones to still have a dog -I’m jealous!- but also let me know if this is true for future reference. ) It was a nice peaceful moment as Robert talked about all he wanted to do while Aaron listened and enjoyed his food.


The next day they spent the morning in the room until Robert demanded they go to the pool so he could see the sunset. “You can see it from here…” which just made the blond pout “no sex until I see the sunset from the pool.” So they had lunch in the restaurant and Aaron took Robert to see his sunset from the pool which Aaron had to admit at least to himself was beautiful. They swam around a little and Robert ‘the child that he was’ started a splashing fight that Aaron was winning so the cheater grabbed the younger man by the waist and hid behind his back.

“That’s cheating!”

Robert just buried his face in Aaron’s neck “that’s not fair…” Aaron’s voice was much softer as the fight left him and he sighed in content. They just stood there in each others’ arms ignoring the noise and the people around them. The sunset gave the water an orange hue that Aaron was sure made Robert’s blond hair glow gold. As the sun began setting the atmosphere changed from families to couples and adults, it was still loud but a different kind of loud. Robert moves them to a corner away from the group of friends that started their own game.

Aaron took the opportunity to turn around so that he could face Robert, leaving himself boxed in by Robert’s taller frame. He was right, Robert’s hair shined gold and it made the tall man almost seem like a Greek god although Aaron will never tell him that. ‘His head will get too big, he might float away’ the corner was deeper so Aaron’s feet barely touched the floor, instead of making fun of him he felt Robert pull his legs up so he wrapped them around the taller man’s waist. They went back to enjoying the sights, Robert the sunset and Aaron his sun.

Soon the sunset and the sky began to get the blue and purple hues that signaled nightfall, the bar was getting ready to open and Aaron knew that this place would turn into party central very soon. He was about to tell Robert they should leave when he felt the man push his trunks below his arse “Robert what are…?” The man ignored him as those long fingers teased along his hole ‘holy shit, he’s not going to…?’ Turns out that he was, Robert pushed a finger inside just as Aaron was going to suggest they take this upstairs. 

Again the man was calm and collected, while Aaron had to bite down a moan as an elderly couple sat near them. “What would these people say if they knew you were fucking yourself on my fingers for all to see like a bitch in heat?” That deep dark tone and those words made a moan slip out, the elderly couple fortunately seemed short of hearing but a girl was walking by with drinks and she raised an eyebrow before walking away. “Uh oh, looks like she heard that slutty sound you made…” Robert added a second finger and at this point Aaron was digging his nails into the man’s back as his lips were close to bleeding.

“...she’s most likely telling her friends about the slutty sound you made and how you’re probably taking my cock and loving it right now.”

“Rob please…”

The cruel bastard just continued to torture him “how’s the water?” the old man asked as he walked over  “it’s great, the sun warmed it up nice but I run hot so many Aaron here is a better judge than me….” and just as Aaron was going wonder why Robert was bringing him into the conversation when he knew that if Aaron opened his mouth a moan could slip out, the man added a third finger “fuck!” Now the three were staring at him and Robert had the audacity to look innocently concerned “are you okay dear?” And of course the couple had to be one of those sweet elderly American couples that always wanted to make conversation and become friends over talks of no doubt the grandchildren or ‘back in their’ time.

“Wa...water just...Oh...got chillllll….!”

Robert hit his prostate just as he was talking because of course the man had to take the opportunity to torture him “I told you, we should’ve come earlier…” The couple was distracted in an argument while Robert continued to assault his prostate and stretch out his hole ‘hopefully for something bigger to come.’ Aaron buried his face in Robert’s neck “please...Rob....please…” and whispered softly neither were under the misconception that Aaron wanted Robert to stop. The old man pulled Robert back into a conversation which the man followed casually while still torturing Aaron.

At this point little moans were slipping through but Aaron was pass caring, some people passed or swam by and sent him a look, some curious while others seemed to know what was going on. He was close to letting his moans out for all to hear and begging Robert to bend him over the pool when the man pulled his fingers out and lifted his trunks back up. The whine was definitely heard at least by the elderly couple “I think it’s time for us to get out before this one gets a chill…” Robert was the image of the perfect caring partner “that’s a good idea, make sure he drinks some tea and aloe is great for sun burns, you’re looking a little red…”

Robert smiled but Aaron could see the smugness as they both knew Aaron wasn’t sun burnt or sick. “The water is really warm…” he heard the old lady exclaim, “he must be really sick, poor kid. It sucks getting sick on vacation.” This time Aaron blushed even more as Robert took some mercy on him and pulled him to the other side of the pool closer to the door and away from the couple and most of the people.  He could at least try to hide the tent in his pants but it was hard to talk.  Somehow they made it to the elevator without being reported for indecency but just as Aaron’s erection was calming down to a more comfortable level he felt Robert’s hand slip into his pants.

“Robert…”

There were a few people in the elevator but fortunately Robert didn’t push in just prob, unfortunately it still made Aaron shift like a kid needing to go to the bathroom while at the same time push back against those fingers. The tent in his pants was growing and just when it was getting to the size that it would be noticeable and humiliating the elevator stopped and the people got off “oh I forgot to press the button...it’s going down…” Robert lamented as he pressed the button but continued torturing Aaron. The man was practically bent over trying to hold it together when the elevator and the number said lobby.

“Better straighten up before everyone notices…”

The doors opened just as Aaron was able to stand straight but no one came in and they immediately closed back up. A smirking Robert had his hand on the button “that was fun” and Aaron wanted to kill the man but also ask him to take him right there. When they reached their floor there was only two other doors there which Aaron knew were empty “fuck me, right here, right now!” which was the only reason he demanded that. There was no way he was making it to their room “nope, if you can make it to the room without cummin like a good slut I will bend you over the nearest surface and eat you out before I fuck you until you beg me to stop.” And fuck if that promise wasn’t enough to make Aaron waddle like a pregnant woman to their room. They could hear Peritas greeting them from inside and as promised once they got inside and Robert greeted Peritas, Aaron was bent over a table. Robert pulled down the man’s trunks and got on his knees, that was Aaron’s last coherent thought of the night before Robert’s tongue destroyed his brain cells through his arse.


Aaron would like to think that he was a relatively hard person to intimidate, with his job title it was almost a requirement. One that he believed he excelled at until he met Annie Sugden and was faced with eyes so similar to his Robert except for the fact that those eyes held years of wisdom and didn’t seem to have the soft edges that Robert’s did or at least they didn’t when glaring at Aaron. “So this is the man that my grandson thinks worthy of introducing to me…?” The older woman petted a content Peritas as she spoke looking like a Queen calmly petting a lion before sending someone to their deaths.

“Gran, please don’t scare this one away?”

“This one?” The possessive side of Aaron stepped forward, forgetting about the scary lady and focusing on the fact that his Robert had thought other people were worth bringing home to his grandmother.

Then Aaron saw the familiar glint in Robert’s that always shined when the man was up to something or he was messing with someone. He turned and saw a quick flash of the same glint in Annie Sugden’s eyes. ‘Holy shit! So this is where he gets it from…’ Aaron was hit with an epiphany. He began to compare the two more deeply than the physical similarities, they both had the same smarmy and devious glint in their eyes.

He could also see that they had the same sense of humor that only made them laugh and usually made others want to punch them in the face. There were also the good things, Annie Sugden was a strong and fearless woman that would do anything for those she loved. Robert was much the same, they were both an acquired taste that once acquired one became addicted. “I’m messing with you, I couldn’t help it. I’ve never seen you look so terrified…” The two Sugdens laughed at his expense and the family resemblance was never more clear, Aaron often wondered if Robert really was a Sugden because he was nothing like the rest of his family back in Emmerdale but he saw it now.

“Well, can you blame me? With the family resemblance, I would be foolish not to be cautious. I know how much of a nightmare you are…”

“Are you saying I’m a nightmare?” Annie Sudgen raised an eyebrow and stared down at him much like Robert does when he’s trying to bluff. Unfortunately for Annie Sugden, Aaron knew her grandson too well and with their similarities that meant that now Aaron knew her. “No, I’m saying you’re danger wrapped in a pretty package…” Aaron confidently explained getting a look from the two Sugdens.

“You think I’m pretty?”

This time Aaron laughed as the two asked, Robert with a pout while Annie smiled “of course you’re pretty and brilliantly devious.” Aaron made sure not to specify who he was talking about, both grandmother and grandson puffed up in pride ‘like peacocks…’ “Flattery my boy, will not get you there...but it will get you far.” Annie has never been introduced to one of her grandson’s partners “I don’t want to meet all your relationships just your partner…” Robert had been confused at that ‘understandable since this was before he found himself’ and instead had not brought anyone home.

Being introduced to Aaron, she realized that he finally understood her words. It’s not that Annie had no interest in her grandson’s life or that she did not want to protect him but more that she knows him and young people in general. Everyone experimented with their love life at a young age mainly because they were still trying to find what they liked, what they wanted, what they needed and most of all learning the difference between the three. She didn’t want to see all the drafts she just wanted the one her grandson settled on.

With her years of experience and knowing her grandson as good as she did, Annie knew that Robert was different in that sense. When Robert was a little kid, he loved everyone around him and everyone he met. She would hear of teachers and adults he wanted to marry, it didn't matter if they were man or woman. Jack had thought it was a cute child phase until Robert got older and it was no longer cute to him. 

Annie had never been more ashamed of her son than in the moment many years later when Robert had finally exploded and told her what the man had done. Suffice to say she wanted to bring Jack back from the dead and beat some sense into him but the damage had been done. Annie watched as Robert struggled with the voice of his father in his head and accepting himself. As if that wasn’t enough, his diagnosis came in and he had more to deal with.

The man has been put through the ringer, sometimes Annie wondered if Robert was being punished for all the wrongs the Sugden family has done and got away with ‘we all pay for our sins somehow and if we don’t pay in living, those left behind might pay after our deaths.’ The bipolar disorder didn’t surprise Annie as much as it should, once she read about the disorder she realized that there were so many signs. Many of the things Robert did as a teenager suddenly made sense, the boy was dangerously impulsive, she had warned Jack that there was something wrong and he should get Robert checked but the stubborn man refused.

“Mum, you’re going to fall for his ploys too. There is nothing wrong with Robert, he’s just trying to get attention and sympathy. He is spoiled, selfish, reckless and cares about no one but himself…”

Annie had wrongly let that go but she should’ve known, there was so much anger and resentment in Jack’s voice towards his own son. The truth is that Robert really is like his father when he was younger except for the part that Jack failed where Robert succeeded. Jack saw that potential in his own son and it burned him with jealousy because it showed him his own failures. ‘It was sad for a parent to envy their own child and want them to fail just because they themselves have failed.’

“My intention is not to get there with flattery but to at least meet halfway, for Robert”

Annie was pulled from her thoughts by Aaron’s voice, the young man stared at her grandson like he was the beginning and the end of his world. That alone both warmed and scared Annie, she was happy that her grandson found someone so devoted and in love with him. On the other hand Annie knew that when two people become so involved in each other they can turn into corner wild animals when defending each other, that can be extremely dangerous for those around them.

“As long as you remember that Robert will always be my priority, as long as he’s happy then we won’t have a problem.”

Aaron was impressed by the woman’s fearless and protective nature. Aaron has been told that he could look intimidating mainly because he gives off a ‘fuck off or lose a finger’ energy yet Annie was unshaken. In the face of protecting her family Annie Sugden would face the devil himself and Aaron both admired and respected that. Robert watched the back and forth between two of the most important people in his life. He was a little annoyed that his presence was practically forgotten.

“In that case we won’t have a problem.”

“Good, now that we’re done with that, let's get back to the real focus of this meeting...me.”

Annie and Aaron rolled their eyes but stared at the blond affectionately as he began to speak, filling his grandmother in on what’s happened in his life so far. Aaron interjected every time Robert conveniently forgot something. It was a good way to spend an afternoon, Aaron and Annie got more and more along as they both planned the murder of Chrissie White. By the end of the visit Robert was second guessing introducing the two, he was sure that Aaron was about to offer his gran a job in his organization if Robert hadn’t pushed him out the door.

“No”

“What...? She would’ve been a perfect fit”

“Of that I have no doubt but she’s retired. Besides, the world is not ready for mobster Annie Sugden.” Aaron seemed to give the words some thought before shuddering violently at whatever he pictured.

“You have a point.”

Chapter Text

Victoria was in a great mood, Robert had video called her while he was visiting their grandmother and she was able to see and speak to the woman. She hadn’t seen her gran in such a long time although she calls her constantly to check in, it was great to get the chance to physically see her. Of course half the call his gran complained that Victoria hadn't visited her and that it meant that the young girl didn’t love her.

This made Victoria guilty and she promised to make an effort to visit her in the next few months which immediately made his grandmother smile and Robert shake his head “I can’t believe you fell for that…” The man had been elbowed for his comment and Victoria had felt played but they all laughed about it. Their grandmother was a lot like Robert in that sense and it was endearingly frustrating. But either way, it felt like a family reunion, at least one with all the last remaining Sugdens by blood.

Victoria made the mistake of sharing this thought which prompted her grandmother to make a comment about her future children “if you gave me great grandchildren that wouldn’t be the case…” Robert had laughed until Victoria reminded him that he could also have children via a surrogate. It was a great and fun chat, she was a little sad to not be there with them but she was still happy to talk to them and get to spend time with them.

She was happy with her decision not to mention anything about the police finding Lachlan’s body or it being ruled as a suicide. Everyone, especially the women with children of their own felt bad for Chrissie “no mother should have to outlive their child, especially one so young…” Diane even suggested going to home farm and giving their condolences personally even bringing over some food. Victoria had rejected that idea immediately “how do you think it’s going to look for the family of her ex, whom she hates, to go see her and offer condolences. It’s going to look like we’re mocking her or worse it’s going to agitate her…”

“Don’t you see that’s why we should go, to show that we don’t condone Robert’s actions and that they don’t represent what the family stands for…”

The comment had pissed Victoria off and she refuses to talk to Diane, the woman continues her unfair bias against her brother and it’s very frustrating. Walking into the pub there was a new tension filling the air, the tension that comes from a good, shocking and scandalous gossip. “What’s going on?” She asked Tracy who turned to her, eyes wide “haven’t you heard? Turns out Lachlan really was a psycho.”

“What do you mean?”

“Vic it might be better…” Finn tried to guide her away but Victoria shook him off “No, tell me” she demanded channeling as much of her big brother as she could. The two stared at each other, almost wondering if they should but apparently Victoria was getting good at channeling her brother because one pointed look and they spoke.

“Turns out Lachlan was the one that poisoned Peritas…”

“What…? That’s…”

“Sick, we know.”

“That’s not all, turns out the little psycho was quite a piece of work and Peritas wasn’t the only poor animal that fell prey to him.”

“Yea…” someone else chimed in almost as if hearing someone speak of it was the green light they needed to speak of it “...turns out the Whites had a dog that went missing but the police now found that Lachlan had killed it in a fit of rage and his mother covered it up by saying he ran away.”

“The same way they covered up that girl he assaulted, poor girl.”

“Or all the other people he assaulted, kid was a monster.”

“I don’t like to wish anyone bad but good riddance, the world is a better and safer place without people like that around.”

The pub was filled with chatter from everyone agreeing or sharing a new story they heard while Victoria was still frozen from the news. “Your brother dodged a bullet when he got away while he still had the chance. If he had married into that family no doubt Lachlan would’ve done him in next…” the statement made Victoria jump “Tracy!” The warm arms of her boyfriend wrapped around her “come on babe, let’s get some air.”

Adam glared at the woman before them who at least had the sense to look apologetic about the damage her words caused. Once outside Victoria finally got her voice to work “is it all true?” She supported Robert in his decisions but that didn’t mean that at some point she didn’t feel sorry for Chrissie. “Vic…” she knew that tone, that was Adam’s ‘don’t ask, I don’t want to hurt you but yes’ tone.

“Tell me Adam!”

“Yes, it’s all true. A constable came around asking questions after his body was found, apparently Aaron had reported what happened to Peritas and you know coopers since it was a dog they didn’t really take it serious until Aaron told them it was a service dog…”

“And that worked?”

“Said it was practically like tampering with someone's medical equipment…”

It made sense, Victoria knows that service animals are considered medicine or medical equipment since they provide a vital service for the health of a patient. “They looked into it and found that it was Lachlan but the more they looked into the kid, the more they found…” Adam told her the story they practiced, the truth was that Debbie was the one to dig up all the information and make sure to hand it to the cops in their payroll while Chas and Faith spread it around.

Since Adam wasn’t technically lying to Victoria, he didn’t feel as guilty “did Aaron know? What about Robert?” The last question was asked frantically as Victoria wondered if that was the reason the two left “No, they don’t know. Aaron suspected that it was Lachlan because of what he did at the wedding but he left before the confirmation. He was worried that if Robert was here when the truth came out, that your brother would do something stupid.” That was a blatant lie on all aspects but to Victoria it made sense.

“That’s good, I’m glad he’s watching out for my brother. Fortunately with Lachlan dead Robert would be less inclined to start a feud with the Whites.” Victoria nodded her head, Adam knew that Aaron wanted to use what happened to gain points with the woman but Adam didn’t like lying to her in such a way although he knew it was necessary but he hoped that once they got married, he could keep the lying to a minimum and only when it pertains to his job.

“Do you think Robert also knew about the things Lachlan did in the past?”

Adam could see that Victoria was terrified of having the image that she has of her big brother finally shattered. To get proof that her brother might be as bad as everyone believed him to be truly terrified her and no matter how annoying Adam found Robert there was no way that he was going to let Victoria get her heartbroke in that way. “No, most of those things happened before Chrissie and your brother met. From what I heard it was a well kept family secret and Robert was never considered family by Lawrence.”

Victoria let out a sigh of relief, a part of her knew that her brother was no saint but he wasn’t the devil either, he was a sinner like they all were. After knowing that her brother was not involved and didn’t have to deal with the drama, Victoria was able to ignore the gossip and go about her day. She tried to channel the good feeling she had after speaking with her grandmother and brother but it was no use. The news about Lachlan had clouded her day and her mind, it was also hard to ignore the gossip since everyone was talking about it.

‘Today is going to be a long day’


While Victoria was dealing with the town's gossip and constant questions about what Robert thought of everything, the man himself was playing fetch on the beach with Peritas as Aaron watched. The younger man took the time to follow up back home and smiled at the confirmation that everything was going as planned. He immediately turned his phone off and focused on the adorable image of Robert playing chase with his massive german shepherd.

Apparently the dog got tired of waiting for Robert to throw the ball and instead decided to chase him to get it from him “no Peritas, you have to wait.” Aaron could hear that Robert was trying to be firm but the laughter wouldn’t let him. “No, no, we’re not playing chase. If you get daddy wet he’s not going to be happy…” that was the first time Aaron had heard Robert referred to himself in that way. He realized that the safer Robert felt the more carefree and open he got because the title did not sound foreign or new.

It sounded like something Robert had called himself before but not in front of others, a guilty pleasure. He must have thought that Aaron couldn’t hear him. Aaron found it adorable but maybe that’s because it was Robert, he never found other people refer to themselves as their pets parents adorable. “Okay...daddy’s tired, he’s not as young as he used to be” that was another comment Aaron was probably not meant to hear.

“Go play with daddy Aaron while I try not to die.”

Robert bent down with his hands on his knees panting like he ran a marathon for the first time with no training. Aaron would be genuinely worried if he wasn’t frozen in shock, all he kept hearing was ‘daddy Aaron’ it ran in a loop in his head. Peritas didn’t have the same issue as Aaron and seemed to understand Robert perfectly because he took the water toy that Robert got him and pranced over to Aaron.

Waiting patiently for Aaron to get over himself and pick up the toy to play and Aaron realized that he was being welcomed into the very exclusive and guard circle of the duo. They were a family, it wasn’t a big one and one member wasn’t even human but it was perfect.  “Okay mate, let’s let the old man rest.” He could feel Robert’s glare at the old comment while he went over and sat down as Aaron took over playing fetch with the dog, unlike Robert he let himself be knocked down into the water by the dog and they happily rolled in it together. 

Of course that meant that when it was time for lunch they had to run up to the room and get change but then Robert insisted on a shower which Aaron joined in and it turned into a round in the shower. Suffice to say they had a very late lunch although an exhausted Peritas didn’t really mind. They instead ordered room service and ate in which Aaron hoped that meant another round but instead it meant Robert and Peritas cuddled together on the sofa taking a knip. Aaron glared at the adorable yet cockblocking image before he took out his phone and took pictures. He put on some TV while the two napped and ended up joining them in their nap.

‘This is perfect, I want this everyday.’


“Mum, you can’t let them get away with this!”

“Don’t you love me?”

“You’re a horrible mother, how could you let this happen?!”

“This is all your fault.”

All Chrissie heard were Lachlan’s words as the boy sneered and cried at her, at first she simply thought that it was part of her mourning but slowly she began to believe the boy was really there. Lawrence was terrified for his daughter, she was losing her grips on reality and he didn’t know what to do. The woman refused to speak or acknowledge anyone other than the Lachlan in her head, Lawrence called a physiatrist friend but he got no response. 

The Dingles had truly cut them off from everyone but the most terrifying display of their power was hearing the rumors about Lachlan and having constables coming over to ask them about their cover up of Lachlan’s crimes. Fortunately Chrissie was in no state to talk and the constables saw that, at least his daughter’s madness gained them some sympathy and time. But they were slowly running out of time and Lawrence had no idea what to do.

Rebecca had stopped calling to hound him for money, she most likely found someone to get money from and in any other case Lawrence would be furious at his youngest daughter's selfish and self-centered actions but at the time he had too much to worry about. Chrissie had locked herself in Lachlan’s room and refused to come out. Lawrence heard her having conversations with herself and he was beginning to think he would have to have her committed when the doorbell rang, they never got visitors any more unless it was constables.

“What do you want? Hasn’t your family done enough to us?”

“I’m nothing like Robert…” Andy responded with a sneered “...your family is not the only one he’s hurt. Chrissie gave me a courtesy when no one else would so I would like to repay her.”

Lawrence glared at the man suspiciously but he could see the hate in the man’s eyes at the mere mention of his brother’s name. ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ so Lawrence let the young man in “I’m afraid Chrissie is in no state to receive visitors.” Andy looked around, he realized that he had never been inside home farm since the Whites bought it. “Can I at least try? She did it for me when I was at my lowest so it’s the least I  can do.” Lawrence was out of options and desperate so he led the man to Lachlan’s room.

“She’s in there, I really hope you get something out of her. At this point anything would be good.”

To Lawrence's surprise Chrissie let Andy inside the room but not him so he had to stay outside and wondered what the two talked about. He prayed that the man got through to his daughter so that they could finally plan their escape from the cursed village. The two talked for nearly two hours behind the closed door before Andy walked out “well…? Did you get anything?” Lawrence immediately bombarded the man “she didn’t say much, she’s angry and justifiably so. I know what she’s going through and she just needs time to process and mourn.”

“How much time?!”

“It’s different for everyone but Chrissie is a strong woman, she’ll be fine.”

Andy left an impatient and frustrated Lawrence but fortunately the older man didn’t have to wait long. The day after Andy’s visit Lawrence woke up to the door of Lachlan’s room open and Chrissie no longer inside. For a brief moment he panicked, he rushed downstairs to see his daughter all dressed in the kitchen. The woman was flawless almost like she was before “ good morning dad” Lawrence was speechless, Chrissie almost seemed to be in a good mood.

“Chrissie, I’m so glad to have you back…”

“It’s good to be back dad, coffee?” and just like that everything felt back to normal, Lawrence released a breath that he had been holding for what felt like days. “I rather we start packing to leave this place” Chrissie smiled serenely “of course, we just have to get our affairs in order…” Lawrence nodded immediately diving into a conversation of papers, selling things, where to move to, legal matters and everything Chrissie missed, while he talked the woman turned around to refill her cup. Lawrence missed the demented smirk on his daughter’s face as she tighten her grip on her mug.

‘I’m not leaving without sending one of them to hell.’

( AN: I was actually going to end it here but the chapter felt too short for me so I decided to add more Robron cuteness, let me know if it’s too long )


The next few days for Aaron and Robert were filled with a lot of sightseeing as Robert wanted to visit old hunts but also check out what was new. Annie even joined them for one day at park Guell which even Aaron had to admit was a cool place. They explored the whole area, Annie and Robert went crazy with pictures while the male blond kept filling them with random facts about the park, the city and art in general.

“Since when do you know so much about art?”

“I have many talents…”

“He had a crush on an artist and to impress her he researched art even modelled nude for her class, turns out she batted for her own team.”

“Gran!”

Robert exclaimed, his face bright red from embarrassment while Aaron exploded in laughter so hard that he was wheezing “I can’t...breathe…” He tried to lean on the tall blond but the pouting man shrugged him off “good, I hope you suffocate.” Robert turned to his grandmother “we agreed never to talk about that.” The two stared at each other almost as if trying to communicate with their eyes but then Annie looked innocently at her tall grandson.

“What? It’s true, I remember how red you got when I walked in…”

“Grandmother! Please stop…”

“Wait, walked in?”

“Yes, I was thinking of taking up a hobby and I go to these nude painting classes expecting to see some hot piece of young eye candy only to see more of my grandson than either of us wanted to…”

Aaron was in shock as his brain tried to process the information before he broke into loud laughter that drew a lot of attention. Poor Robert was so red, he looked like he was having a heat stroke “No....Oh god….” Annie seemed so proud of herself, it was her job to embarrass her grandchildren and children at least once. With Robert it was hard because as a boy Robert wasn’t easily embarrassed, he loved hanging out with her and was proud of liking ‘old things’ as younger kids said. Even as he got older, Robert had a confidence that Annie was sometimes envious of but most times was just happy he was blessed with. It was horrible when she wanted to embarrass him so when the art class incident happened Annie knew she had struck gold.

She had promised never to speak of it to Robert, the man couldn’t even look at her in the face for weeks after and while Annie was a woman of her word she was also a grandmother. So she kept the information away for a rainy day, never for blackmail, but more for a moment like this when Robert finally found someone that made him happy and accepted him no matter what. In a way sharing this with Aaron was her final and biggest stamp of approval not only of the man but of their relationship.

“...I’m gonna...wee...myself…”

“Don’t even think about it…” Robert warned his grandmother as she opened her mouth to no doubt share more embarrassing stories “what? I was just going to say there was a bathroom over there.” She said innocently while Aaron tried hard to stop his laughing before he peed himself but every time he tried, he picture Robert naked trying to impress a girl while his grandmother walked in.

“Did you run off…?”

“Nope, he had to stay for the whole class…” and the laughter was back, Aaron knew he had to rush to the bathroom soon before he had his own embarrassing moment.

“Okay, that’s enough. It was a mistake introducing you two, but that’s what I get for trying to be a good grandson and partner. Come on Peritas, let's leave these traitors…” Robert huffs off leaving a still laughing Aaron and a smiling Annie “I hope you pee yourself.” He said to his partner like a child throwing a lame comeback, all that was missing was for him to stick out his tongue to Aaron.

Eventually Aaron was able to get his laughter under control and run to the bathroom before they both caught up to a pouting Robert. The blond gave them both the cold shoulder although Annie won him over by buying him ice cream which Aaron didn’t mention how adorably innocent that was. It was very child-like and Aaron could almost picture a kid Robert holding Annie’s hands and skipping along with joy to be getting ice cream. 

He knew he was already in hot water for laughing so hard about Robert’s embarrassment but a healthy couple laughs at each other so Robert should actually be happy that Aaron laughed. Again Aaron didn’t mention this instead he also took a page out of Annie's book and bought the man sweets which pacified him but he wasn’t forgiven. Aaron was sure that he was in for a punishment when they got back to the hotel ‘god I hope so…’

Turns out Aaron’s punishment was not getting any, apparently thinking about his grandmother seeing him naked was a massive mood and sex drive killer. Suddenly the tale was no longer funny and Aaron wished Annie hadn’t said anything. He had to suffer blue balls for a brief laugh, no doubt it was a good one, but still just a laugh. Aaron needed to spark Robert up again so he began planning, he was going to sweep the man off his feet so hard that Robert would never be able to keep his hands off him.


His plan started with a spa day for Robert, he set it up with the hotel spa and even spoke to the concierge about an amazing doggy spa they would recommend for Peritas. The day started with breakfast, all the blonde’s favorites “what’s this?” Robert was confused by the sweet gesture from the younger man trying to remember if he forgot a special date. It wasn’t that Aaron wasn’t sweet but the man’s sweet gestures were more subtle ‘and often involved violence to others or someone else suffering.’ 

Robert had no problem with that because that was who Aaron was, the man was a protector and a fierce one at that. It was a nice feeling that Robert had grown to accept and appreciate but what that meant was that Aaron wasn’t the ‘surprise you with a bouquet of flowers’ guy. ‘He was more of the ‘surprise you with a bouquet of fingers from the person who made you cry’ guy.’ Robert should not be as okay with that as he was “are you going to eat or wait until it gets cold?”

Back to the current point, the breakfast surprise was a new sort of romance for Aaron, and Robert won’t lie, he kind of liked it. “Are you going to tell me what this is about?” Robert sat down, his mouth watered at the spread of all his favorite breakfast indulgences. “I’m taking a swing at ‘normal’ romantic gestures…” Aaron picked up toast which made Robert rolled his eyes ‘out of everything on the table, of course he’s going to go with toast.’ “As opposed to torturing and killing my enemies, you mean?”

Aaron saw the playful glint in Robert’s eyes so he rolled his own eyes knowing that the man was teasing him. It still surprised him how okay Robert was with that side of Aaron’s life and personality “he’s the beauty to your beast…” he remembers Belle’s words when she caught Aaron in a rare moment of contemplation and openness. “Finish up, I have another surprise for you both.” Aaron said pointing to Peritas as well, the dog also got gourmet breakfast instead of his normal kibble ‘although I wouldn’t call the kibble Robert fed him normal, the thing is better than some human food.’

After breakfast Aaron took Robert to the spa where attendants were waiting for the blond “what…?” with towels and even a flute of non alcoholic champagne which Aaron ordered after he found out that with his condition and the medications he was taking it was better and recommended for the man not to drink alcohol. ( AN: I’ve read this somewhere but I wasn’t sure if it was completely banned or just a suggestion

“These ladies will take care of you for the day while I take care of Peritas…”

“Aaron, what...how...why…?

“...think you’ll be good without Peritas for a few hours?”

They both knew what Aaron was asking, everyday was different for Robert. Like any disorder he had good days and bad days, some days even with the medicine the man didn’t want to get off the bed while other days he was restless with too much energy. They weren’t full episodes, just the peaks of ones almost as if they were seeping through like an overflowing cup of water. Aaron had learned over time that sometimes social situations can stress Robert out and that was when he needed Peritas the most. But after years of training himself to deal without the dog in public out of shame, the blond was very good at ‘dealing’ with it on his own.

Aaron refuses to let that happen any more, he would make sure Robert never had to hide or feel ashamed of something he has little to no control over. That was why he was very specific with the spa staff and told them about Robert’s condition, fortunately their masseuses were experts and a few knew how to deal with mental health related stress and aches. 

He had blocked the spa out for half the day just for Robert which wasn’t easy but money and the power he has screams loud enough to make it happen. Aaron didn’t want the man to have to deal with other guests trying to talk or interrupt him. Also so that Robert had the masseuses undivided attention and if it also avoided anyone ogling his almost practically naked partner’s body then that was just an added bonus.

Aaron was pulled from his thoughts by hands in his face pulling him into familiar arms and lips that snogged him so hard all Aaron could do was melt into those arms and hang on for the ride. By the time Robert pulled away they were both breathing hard and Aaron’s throat was thoroughly fucked by Robert’s tongue. He also had a semi that made him want to grab his blond and take him back upstairs but instead he was left trying to arrange himself.

The staff behind them were blushing and like always Robert seemed the only one not affected and again Aaron would be impressed if he wasn’t so turned on. “I’ll be fine without him for a few hours, what do you have in mind?” because of course Robert knows when Aaron was up to something. “He’s been working very hard and with what happened to him, I figured he also deserved a treat.” The bright smile that Robert gave him and the second snogged was worth everything.

Robert was so happy that Peritas was being rewarded and acknowledged by someone other than him. All the people he’s dated had always seen the dog as an accessory or medical equipment which meant they mainly ignored him. But the dog was much more than that, he’s giving Robert an independence that means more to him than anything any human could and has ever given him. Peritas is the most important being in his life followed closely by Aaron, the fact that the younger man sees the dog’s importance and value to Robert was everything.

Not only did he see it but he also appreciated and rewarded the dog for it, he’s seen the constant treats that Aaron’s snuck the dog and he doesn’t say anything because Peritas deserves that and more. Robert can’t help but think of the dark times before the dog came into his life, of waking up in gutters and allies or all the terrifying mornings in clinics praying that he didn’t catch something after waking up in some stranger's bed.

Robert even remembers once asking a friend to cuff him to the bed just so he could go one night without waking up somewhere else and maybe get some sleep. “Rob…” Aaron’s voice and his hand on his arm pulled the blond from his dark journey down memory lane. Bright blue eyes stared at him in concern and he could feel that at some point Peritas got between his legs and whined slightly.

“I’m okay guys, just got lost in thought”

“Maybe Peritas should stay here…”

“No, like you said he deserves a treat for all his good work. I’ll be fine.”

Aaron didn’t look too sure and Robert could’ve sworn that even Peritas looked up at him with doubt “I swear, you’re both such mother hens. I’ll be fine, I took my medicine and everything so go, the faster you leave the faster I could get to relaxing…” Robert leaned forward to whisper in Aaron’s ear “...I’ll think of a worthy ‘thank you’ for all this.” The bastard bit Aaron’s ear then walked away kissing Peritas and leaving him by Aaron’s side.

“Tease”

“I heard that.”


After leaving Robert, Aaron had taken Peritas to the doggy spa that the concierge recommended which almost cost as much as a regular human spa. But they were the best and he wanted only the best for his boys. The outside looked like a high-end spa and if it wasn’t for the name then Aaron would’ve been fooled “what kind of name is dogirvana? That’s not even Spanish…” the place looked prestigious and not in a good way. It looked like the place that both him and Peritas would be kicked out of and called riff raff. 

“What do you think? Give it a try?” Peritas tilted his head and Aaron took that to mean that he wasn’t sure “I’ll shut them down if they don’t treat you like a king.” That seemed to pacify the dog or at least it did in Aaron’s head ‘I’m turning into Robert.’ Just as expected once inside all Aaron saw was designer dogs, there was one dog that looked like it would call the manager on Aaron ‘what the fuck is that?’

Peritas was the only guard non-lap or designer dog in the place so he got a lot of looks but the German shepherd took it like a champ. He was trained to ignore all sorts of annoying situations so a few stares was nothing for him. Aaron petted the dog for his good behavior before stepping up to the woman in the front desk. The staff, unlike the customers, were friendly and even gushed over Peritas “he’s my partner’s service dog so take good care of him.” They were all thoroughly impressed by the dog’s ‘job’ and took him to the back no doubt to pamper him, the dog didn’t even notice when Aaron left.

While his two boys were being pampered Aaron prepared everything for the night's event, he went to the restaurant and made sure that everything was set. He personally didn’t really care about the details but he knew that Robert would so he focused on them. After that he went to a sex store and got plenty of lube plus a few other surprises that were more for him than Robert since they were for the man to use on him.

He thought about getting some business done but he promised Robert no work so instead he walked around. He saw a sign about vacancy in a building for flats and thought about possibly buying a place here. It made sense, Robert loved the place and his grandmother was here so he would no doubt visit a lot plus it will always be important to their relationship as it was their first holiday together as a couple.

Aaron didn’t walk into that building because if he was going to buy a place it would have to be something nice and fancy for Robert but between Annie and all the action. ‘Hmmm, possibly close to the beach…’ He smiled as he remembered Peritas and Robert playing in the water ‘yea, definitely close to the beach.’ It was by no means a done deal, more of an idea that he will talk to Robert about and maybe in a few years could take root.

Peritas was done with his spa day first so Aaron went to pick him up and was impressed by what he saw. He looked like a new dog, not that the dog was scruffy before -Robert took good care of him- but he looked like a working dog. Now he looks like those dogs Aaron’s seen in dog shows on the telly. “Wow, look at you buddy…” the dog was also in very high spirits as he pranced around almost as if he knew he looked good “...you’re just like your father.” Aaron shook his head affectionately as he got many licks as thank you.

Even the dog’s breath smelled fresh “we brushed his teeth, trimmed his nails and cleaned his ears along with the groom and a massage.” The staff informed him which made Aaron smile “you got a massage?!” he was so happy Robert wasn’t there to see him gush “of course he did, he’s a hard working boy so he earned it.” Aaron was sent out with some gourmet treats and some pictures of Peritas with a towel wrapped around his ears and cucumbers in his eyes, in one of them the dog seemed to have caught one of the cucumbers and was eating it. That one made him laugh, he also bought the shampoo and conditioner used on him because it made his coat soft and lushes plus it smelled good.

“Come on, let's go get your dad.”


Robert wasn’t ready when they arrived but they only had to wait a few more minutes before they were greeted by the sight of a very mellow looking Robert. He almost looked like he took some good weed and it made Aaron chuckle “you okay mate? What did you do to him?” He asked the staff playfully which made them smile. “I’ve never felt this relaxed in my life” and Aaron knew that the man meant that. He could see in the blonde’s posture, eyes and dopey smile “he was retaining a lot of tension and stress. It took us a while to release all those knots, I’m surprised he was so cool and calm when he came in. We’ve seen people snap for less…” 

Aaron didn’t mention that Robert had snapped and he continued to snap “can you believe I’ve never been to a spa?” The man sounded so high that Aaron really began wondering if they gave him something. “He released a lot of endorphins which will give the feeling of being content or on cloud nine but he’ll slowly come down.” The masseuse responded to Aaron’s raised eyebrow with a smile ( AN: Not sure if this really happens, I’ve never had a professional spa day -I’m poor- and the one time I’ve gotten a message, I hated it and ended up worse than at the start, it was painful and not relaxing at all but I gave my mom a ‘sort-of’ spa day -again I’m poor so mainly a massage, pedi and mani on a mother’s day special- and she loved it, was smiling the whole time after, not really high but I thought this would be funnier. If anyone has done a professional spa day tell me if something like this does happen. )

“Oh my god, Per look at you. You look so good…” Robert finally turned to the dog and got on the floor with him “...and feel so soft…” he petted the excited dog who licked him like they’ve been away for days and not hours.

When Robert started rubbing his face against Peritas’ fur like a cat and mumbling “so fluffy”, Aaron knew it was time to go. He pulled up his man and took them both up to the room. “Spas are awesome Aaron but you want to know a secret…” he whispered loudly in Aaron’s ear “what?” he was having a lot of fun with this chilled Robert “you’re even awesomer...is that a word? awesomer...that doesn’t sound like a word.” Aaron finally got a kiss when he entered the room before Robert sat on the floor with Peritas in his lap and just petted the dog which Aaron didn’t take personally, he figured that despite saying he was fine Robert missed the dog by his side.

Eventually Robert did come down from his high and fortunately it wasn’t harsh or rough like normal highs. It was just like waking up from a very good nap, well rested and energized. Aaron teased him about his high-like state but the man seemed in too much of a good mood to care. Although he did care when Aaron showed him what he bought for tonight “but it will have to wait, we have other plans.”

The blond raised an eyebrow but didn’t protest the wait ‘yea cause he's a sadist that likes torturing me.’ Robert smirked almost as if hearing his thoughts “it gives me more time to plan…” and that thought made Aaron weak in the knees. He wanted to say ‘fuck it’ but he got Robert curious and the man wasn’t going to let it go especially when he told him what he had planned. 

“...so what’s the plans we have for tonight?”

“I thought you might like to go out for dinner but right now I kind of want to stay in…”

“What for burgers or pizza?” Robert jokes with an exasperated look, teasing Aaron about his lack of elegance and class.

“Well, this place is really expensive so they better have a decent burger or pizza especially if they’re making me dress up.”

This intrigued Robert but Aaron refused to tell him. The two got dressed with a strict Robert not letting things escalate “you got me curious.” It was even harder to keep his hands to himself when he saw Robert in his suit ‘god, I want this man.’ Robert was having the same trouble, Aaron’s suit framed his arse so perfectly that Robert gave in and smacked it while they were in the elevator. “What? It was calling me” Aaron just rolled his eyes “behave, you’re the one who insisted on coming out.” Robert pouted at his decisions, biting him in the arse and his words being used against him. 

Robert was shocked when he saw where they were going “are you serious?! This is one of the most exclusive restaurants in the city, possibly the country!” Robert had wanted to eat there but it was always too expensive and the wait was months long. There was always some celebrity and even royalty spotted going in or coming out of it. “Good thing I rented it out, I don’t want to deal with snobby people…” 

Robert turned to Aaron like the man said that he had bought him a country or something “are you serious? I can’t...how…” Robert was truly speechless. They were led to their table and Robert saw other people sitting in tables which confused him at first until he recognized some of them. “I thought it would be awkward with just us in this big place so I figured I’d give them a treat” they were most likely Aaron’s men, Robert even recognized his own security which he didn’t know were on the trip. Robert sends Aaron a questioning look “what? You didn’t think I would leave the country without protection, especially if I’m with you. I’m temperamental not stupid, they’ve been around the whole time.”

That was news to Robert but he found that he didn’t really care since it didn’t affect the experience he’s had so far with Aaron. They were seated away from Aaron’s entourage, the server even brought a bowl of water for Peritas. “Go nuts...but no waste” Robert stared at his partner “how much money do you make?” He realized for the first time that he had ignored that part of Aaron which was so out of character for him. When he first met Chrissie the first thing he noticed and took in mind especially when deciding to date her was her money.

But with Aaron he realized that he didn’t care because he fell in love with him when he thought he was a dirty little grease monkey ‘although it’s definitely a bonus to be spoiled like this.’ Aaron just shrugged his shoulders “let’s just say this didn’t even make a dent” Robert’s eyebrows hit the roof in shock but he asked himself if this changed anything between them or how he feels about the younger man. ‘Not really’ so Robert took over ordering, he asked if it was possible to cook something for Peritas. He could see the trepidation in the server’s eyes and the refusal in the manager’s as they walked over but a pointed look from Aaron changed that.

The food or at least Robert tasting everything took up most of their attention, Peritas was happy with his salmon, green beans and sweet potatoes dish while Aaron was loving his steak and roasted potatoes. Once they finished the main dish Robert went a little crazy with dessert, getting one of everything and actually even ordering doubles to take with him. The big shock was that he ate all the plates he ordered. Aaron was starting to think he wasn’t going to get his after party but he was still happy, it was still a good night.

They talked about everything and nothing, Aaron told him about the idea of possibly buying a vacation home in Barcelona. The man loved the idea but agreed they should wait some time, not because he doubted their relationship “...I need to get a job first and move out of Vic’s. Makes no sense to buy a vacation home if I don’t have a regular home.” Aaron wanted to say that Robert didn’t have to worry about money and that Aaron was going to pay for the home but he knew how proud the man was and he didn’t want to ruin the night talking about such things.

Aaron also expressed his desire to have more dogs, maybe even take Scrappy with him “what at the pub?” Robert had noticed that Aaron only stayed at his flat when Robert stayed with him, the younger man clearly didn’t live there full time. “No, I thought about getting a place…” Aaron checked Robert’s reaction, he didn’t want to push the man by moving too fast but the thought of waking up wrapped up like a burrito by Robert’s arms sounded amazing.     

“Hmm…”

But as expected he got nothing from the older man, just a pensive look so Aaron decided to leave the conversation for now. They went for a quiet walk instead to give Peritas his walk for the night. It was peaceful and Aaron found himself being lull to a state of bliss much like Robert’s high from earlier. “I want to open you up with my tongue until tears run down your face then I want to fuck you twice until I filled you up but you can’t cum…” Aaron whimpered as Robert suddenly began whispering in his ear “...after I’m going to plug you up and use those nice gifts you got and just when your at the edge of madness from too much pleasure and pain, I’ll fuck you again and plug you back up so that you keep my load nice and warm. Finally I’ll take pity on you and let you fuck my mouth until you fill it with cum then leave you to sleep plugged up and full…” Aaron must have moaned loudly because Robert chuckled.

“That’s how I want to thank you, what do you think?”

“Oh god yes, please…” They were in public but Aaron didn’t care, he would steal someone’s car to get to the hotel if he had to. He felt long slipped into the back of his pants and looked around, it was dark and deserted but there were still people walking around.

“Let’s start right now....”

Chapter Text

Victoria was so excited, her brother was finally coming back to Emmerdale; it’s been almost a month since he went away with Aaron, she was starting to worry they weren’t coming back. Even better, Andy agreed to get help, he’s put himself up in some clinic for a few days even giving them the information. It worked perfectly because that meant the two men wouldn’t cross paths until Andy returned and hopefully by then, the man was much better. She couldn’t wait until the time when they could have family dinners again, maybe even take a trip together to see their gran in Barcelona. From the brief images Robert showed her when they video called and the tan her brother had, Victoria was really jealous and wanted to visit the place herself.

“It’s great here Vic, might be thinking about moving back here.”

She didn’t like her brother’s little joke “Robert, don’t you dare...I’ll go there and drag you back.” There was no way she was losing her brother again, the man had just chuckled but a part of Vic had been worried until it was confirmed that they were coming back by Robert calling from the airport. She was even more excited to tell him that she was getting married, she didn’t want to tell him via the phone but Adam had proposed while they were away.

They want to get married immediately so she has been planning like crazy, she even went to see some dresses. Of course she hasn’t done anything since she was waiting for her brother who will be her man of honor so she wants him to be present for every little detail and decision. She never expected to be able to share this with her big brother but now that she had him in her life, she wanted him there for everything almost as if to make up for what he missed.


Flashback

A blonde little girl in a white sheet with real flowers haphazardly glued on it walked around a farm, expectly avoiding the mud puddles and anything that could ruin her makeshift dress. In her hands there was another ‘dress’ much like her own. On her head she wore a  flower crown that had seen better days.  She held a bouquet in her other hand that was mainly weeds while behind her a dog  followed loyally. He had on what looked to one day have been a man’s black t-shirt “We need a bridesmaid so we have to find Robert…” the girl instructed the dog.

The animal just followed after her, resigned to his fate and excited for the girl to find another victim for her games. “Robert! Robert!” The little girl screamed all around the farm, startling some of the animals while others seemed almost used to it. She roamed and roamed until a tall blond boy walked out of a barn, an older boy sneaking out behind him but the little girl only had eyes for the blond “Robert!” He looked up at the bright smiling girl and raised an eyebrow at her ‘dress’ 

“Hey Vic, what are you up to?” 

“Me and Doggy are getting married!”

Robert raised an eyebrow, trying not to laugh although he felt for the dog that got stuck with his title as a name because their father couldn’t say or scold Victoria in any way. “Is that so, well congratulations...but what does this have to do with me?” Robert was always happy to humor his little sister, who was the only bright spot in his family. “You’re the bridesmaid!” Victoria declared as if it was so obvious and Robert was being purposely dumb for not realizing it.

“See I even made you a dress”

“When did I agree to this?” 

There was a subtle playful tone in his voice that Victoria wasn’t yet old enough to recognize so she pouted. Robert saying no was never a possibility that she thought of or something she prepared for. Her big brother always said yes to everything even when their daddy got mad and yelled at him like he did when Robert took her to the carnival a few towns over. Or that time Robert got her Doggy as a gift because she wanted a friend. 

“You stole a dog! Have you lost your mind?!”

“He was just left there…”

“In someone’s yard!”

That time they yelled for a long time but Victoria just hugged Doggy and told him everything they will do together to block out the yells, she even fooled herself into thinking that the slamming sounds was just Robert helping her daddy move things as punishment. Her big brother always did fun stuff like that but their daddy never really liked them. They always yelled and then Robert would lock himself in his room and get really sad for a few days before coming out and playing with Victoria like nothing happened.

“You’re my big brother Robert, I can’t get married without you”

Little Victoria declared passionately which made Robert smile brightly, it was moments like this that made staying in the village and in the family worth it. Even as his father forbade him from playing with Victoria “You’re a bad influence and you’re going to get her in trouble. I refuse to let her be anything like you!” Robert knew he was going to end up in the ridiculous dress. ‘I hope that by her actual wedding she has better taste.’

“Are you sure?”

“Yes”

“Really, really sure?”

“YES! There will never be a wedding without you!”

Robert was touched and smiled taking the dress “then I guess I better get change before the ceremony.”

End Flashback


‘Yep, I definitely can’t get married without my big brother.’  

She had offered to pick them up from the airport but Robert had declined “I’m coming back Vic, no need to worry…” He didn’t understand how she was feeling, when Robert left the village back then there was no warning. Her brother was there when she went to sleep and then gone when she woke up. No one knew where he went and Victoria didn’t yet trust that Robert wouldn't do it again, especially with what he’s been through in the last months.

Her living room was a mess, it looked like an event planner threw up all over the place. She had pictures on the walls and magazine articles on the floor plus tape, scissors and glue on the coffee table making a mess. All of it put together somehow made the image of her dream wedding, she knew Robert no doubt would get anxiety looking at the mess but to her it was organized chaos. 

“What the hell happened here?!”

She turns quickly to see none other than her big brother staring at her organized chaos in pure horror. “Robert! I thought you weren’t arriving until later today?” She rushes over and jumps in his arms, missing the soft affectionate smile on her brother’s face. “Relax Vic, I wasn’t off to war…” She even missed his snark “way to ruin the moment.” Robert shrugged unbothered “and here I was about to say I missed you.” Victoria pouted and turned to Peritas who had waited patiently for her to greet him “hey boy, did you have fun?” The dog was excited almost as if trying to tell her how much fun he’s had.

“I was too busy to miss you.”

“Ew Rob, don’t be crass.”

“I meant seeing the sights and spending time with gran...What did you think I meant?”

“...” The smarmy look she could deal without “oh naughty, naughty Victoria...get your head out of the gutter” Robert playful scolded his little sister who rolled her eyes although her cheeks were slightly pink.

The man dropped his bag which Vic noticed was a lot bigger than when he left and headed to the kitchen. She headed soon after watching as he put on some tea “no welcome home or even refreshments for my homecoming, have to make my own tea…” he stage whispered scandalized. “Oh hush you, tell me about your trip. Did you have fun? Where did you go? How was gran? What did you do?” The flurry of questions did not allow time for a response so Robert waited until she ran out of air.

“Well, to answer your questions in that order...yes, Barcelona, A right nightmare but good, and you don’t want to know” the last part was accompanied with a smirk and a wink from the man.

“You are such a troll! I don’t know why I want you to be my man of honor…”

“Hold up, man of honor? Are you…?”

“Yes, I’m getting married!”

She did not get the excitement or joy she was expecting from the older man “when did this happen? Why wasn’t I consulted?” In fact Robert looked angry and unimpressed “oh come on Robert, like your the ‘ask for my permission’ old tradition type.” The man pursed his lips, Victoria was right. Robert wasn’t a traditionalist but Vic was his little sister and he needed to know and make sure that she was marrying someone worthy that would be by her side but most of all that would treat her like she deserved, an equal not a china doll or princess.

He worried about Adam’s other job and while he was okay with what Aaron did, he wasn’t sure that Victoria would be the same and Robert wasn’t sure he liked the idea of his sister being in a marriage built on lies. “Robert, I know you worry about me but I love him and I’m very happy…” Robert wanted to tell her how she was only happy now because she didn’t know the whole truth but instead he kissed her forehead “then that’s all that matters.” He would have to have a serious talk with Adam because Victoria needed a partner that would treat her as an equal, not a husband that would cuddle and ‘protect’ her.


While Robert figured out how to threaten his best friend, Aaron got back to the swing of things at ‘work’ fortunately the organization did not fall apart without him and Adam did a good job as second although a lot of that had to do with Debbie’s guidance. So since he was still feeling in a good mood from their holiday, Aaron decided to reinstate the woman “on a provisional period, you need to gain back the groundwork that you lost.”

“I know, I won’t let the family down again.”

“Be sure that you don’t, I really don’t want to leave Jack and Sarah orphaned cause lets face it their father is useless.”

Aaron had commented casually because they both knew that it wasn’t a threat “oh and Debbie…” the woman turned around only to see the ice blank look Aaron usually got when he was going to kill or torture someone “...if you stick your nose into my relationship with Robert or mess with him in anyway, I won’t grant you the mercy of a quick death.” She shivered at the cold promised in those words, who ever thought that Robert would soften Aaron up was dead wrong.

Adam wasn’t surprised or bothered by his ‘demotion’ as he wasn’t really into being in charge, he enjoyed having Aaron’s back and being down in the trenches with the soldiers. “I hear you’re getting married…” Aaron raised an eyebrow which clearly says he’s not too pleased that he didn’t hear it from Adam. “Yea, sorry mate but with your family it’s hard to keep anything secret” Aaron chuckled which meant that Adam was forgiven.

“Ain’t that the truth. I can’t believe you finally wore her down.”

“Hey! I have my charms”

“The only creature that falls for your charms is Scrappy but I forgive him cause he’s a dog.”

“Oh yea, what’s your excuse?” Adam wiggle his eyebrows and pursed his lips before winking at his best friend. For the two friends it was good to just relax and be friends together, banter and tease each other about normal stuff, not just deal with the business. Aaron rolled his eyes at the idiot he decided to make his best friend.

“Clearly I have issues”

“I mean you said it not me”

The air was playful as the man talked about the wedding and preparations, Adam expressed how he wanted to involve Scrappy in some way “...he saved my life along with your Robert but he’s already Vic’s man of honor so…” Aaron's face softened that the thought of his blond and Adam could see how truly gone his best friend was for Victoria’s brother. ‘I’m glad he finally has someone like he deserves.’

“...I was thinking of making him the ring bearer, I saw some videos and it looked cool…”

“What are you going to do about the business? I doubt Victoria would be as okay with it as Robert.”

“She won’t, that’s why I won’t tell her.”

“Robert is not going to be happy with you lying to her.”

“He’ll understand, it’s for Vic’s safety and happiness. She’s not like her brother, Vic is too kind and sweet for our world.”

“Yet you're going to marry her…”

“What can I say, I’m a selfish bastard.”


Just as Aaron predicted Robert was not happy when Adam told him his decision, the man had been downright furious “Robert, do you honestly think that Victoria would be okay with what I do?” Even in his fury Robert couldn’t lie at least not to himself, there is no way that Victoria would be okay with her husband being a mobster and even less with her brother dating a mob boss. 

“She deserves better…”

“Victoria is an angel, she deserves better than all of us…” Adam made sure to include the man in his statement because there was no way he was going to let the man be a hypocrite “...but she loves us and for some reason, I still can’t fathom, she wants us.”

Robert was silent for a moment, he knew that he had not been the perfect brother or a great man but a brother lying or hiding something from you was much more different than a husband or partner lying to you. He knew that Adam had a point but Robert also knew that nothing stays hidden forever and those that tried were usually eaten inside from the guilt. Robert knew what that felt like, he hid his father’s abuse and still does, he didn’t wish that on Vic or Adam ‘just because Victoria loves him not because I actually like the man.’ 

“This is not going to stay a secret forever and sooner or later she’s going to find out. That is going to hurt much more…”  Robert turned to the younger man “...at least now there might be a chance to save something.”

Robert realized that he couldn’t force Adam to tell Victoria in part because it meant that he would have to tell her about his relationship with Aaron so instead he decided to work on his apology when the woman eventually found out. He knew that this decision would come back to bite Adam in the arse hard but he hoped that it wouldn’t destroy his sister.

“If when she finds out...this destroys Victoria, I don’t care how close you are to Aaron, I will make you regret ever setting eyes on my sister before I erase you from existence in the most painful way you can imagine.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less”


The wedding was meant to be a small affair for close family and friends but turned into a massive affair as everyone wanted to celebrate with the couple. Everyone liked Victoria and Adam “he’s like the village fool” Robert teased which made a nervous Victoria elbow him. As man of honor Robert was in charge of everything he didn’t want to do, like console a crying Victoria, make sure the wedding dress and her hair were perfect, check decorations were good, make sure Adam didn’t run off ‘I’d kill him’ and even make sure everyone was ready.

“Why didn’t you just get a wedding planner?”

“Why pay when you can do it for free?” The younger woman teased which made him glare at her and threaten to walk out which she then used her puppy eyes to get him to stay.

Victoria decided to honor her roots and make it a country wedding “any wedding in this village is a country wedding.” Despite Robert’s disapproval the ceremony was done in a barn that was decorated with sweet blues and purple ribbons as well as fairy lights but minimal flowers. Victoria wanted to have farm animals like a petting zoo but Robert put his foot down fortunately Finn helped the man talk Victoria out of that horrible idea.

“That’s an accident waiting to happen Vic”

“Or a lawsuit which is worse”

“How is someone getting hurt worse than a lawsuit?”

“Because you don’t lose anything from someone else getting hurt”

Peritas and Scrappy looked dashing in bowties although Robert was able to get Peritas to wear a tuxedo jacket, he tried with Scrappy but the dog gave one warning growl and Robert stepped back. The rottweiler did let Robert hang the rings from his bowtie so he took the win where he could get it. The two dogs got on great although sometimes it seemed like Peritas was also Scrappy’s service animal.

They both walked down the aisle together and Scrappy didn’t look too comfortable or sure about the situation especially with all the people but Peritas stayed firmly by the dog’s side and led him all the way to Adam’s side. Once the rottweiler was next to the man he relaxed, he looked perfectly content between the only two humans he liked and trusted. Victoria looked beautiful in a mermaid style dress that had Adam drooling. Robert took a break from almost tearing up to glare at the man “she’s not your wife yet.”

The dress had been an uphill battle with Diane insisting that Victoria wear something more traditional, the older woman kept finding something wrong with all the dresses that she didn’t pick. Victoria almost picked one she didn’t like in order to please the woman but Robert had lost his patience. “It’s her bloody wedding, not yours!” Of course the dramatic woman got teary eyes and Robert was the bad guy, getting a glare from Victoria and everyone present but at least the young woman finally put her foot down and picked the dress she wanted. 

  Diane was in tears the whole ceremony and kept mumbling something about Jack seeing it and being proud. Aaron rolled his eyes at the dramatics while Robert ignored her and was thankful that his father wasn’t alive to ruin this moment for his sister. Andy was there holding the older woman and nodding along with her, he glared at Robert but didn’t cause issues and for that they were all thankful. Scrappy seemed so proud of himself when the rings were taken from his collar almost as if he knew that he performed an important duty. The dog even let Victoria give him a grateful pad on the head “good boy.”

Robert refused to spend more time than needed in a barn so the reception was done in the newly rebuilt village hall, where the soft blue and purple was carried out along with the fairy lights. Victoria insisted on having a family dinner style reception so they arranged four long tables across the room surrounded by chairs with the dance floor in between. Again Robert hated it mainly because it forced him to socialize with more people that wanted to, that asked questions that he had no interest in answering although Aaron was a good deterrent. 

The reception was filled with loud music, plenty of food and drunk dancing, mainly from Robert and Victoria. After the father and daughter dance -which Robert took over as the Eldest and only Sugden man present, after Andy left claiming that he had to be back at the clinic- where the siblings danced gracefully, the two became a flash of limbs and bad dance moves. Both Aaron and Adam watched from the sidelines pretending to be embarrassed but they weren’t fooling anyone. 

“I see the family resemblance”

“Mate, bad dancing runs in the family. What am I going to do?”

“Never take her dancing”

Eventually the two were coerced into one dance, Aaron refused to call it dancing “I’m just moving back and forth.” Robert smirked at the man “oh yea, pacing with style?” the newly married couple giggled from beside them. It was a great night, Aaron gifted the couple their honeymoon in Hawaii which Victoria almost fainted. Everyone expected the woman to protest such a gift but she snatched the tickets from Aaron before the man could take it back. 

“That’s my sister, she knows when to take advantage of a good deal.”

Adam promised that they would take a brief detour in Barcelona to visit her gran who couldn’t make it. Robert did manage to get her in a video call while Andy was still there and all the Sugden children talked to her, she teared up at Victoria in her dress “oh my dear, you’re a vision.” She scolds both Andy and Victoria for not visiting her or even calling her, Diane tried to intervene but she forgot who Annie Sugden was. “This is a Sugden family meeting, last time I remember you divorced my son before he died…” Andy and Victoria tried to defend a speechless Diane while Robert bit back his smirk while to Aaron she became his favorite Sugden besides Robert.

Even after the lover birds were long gone the party continued late into the morning hours some people never even left the village hall. Robert and Aaron had taken Scrappy and Peritas back to the younger man’s flat where the dogs slept in the living room while the humans danced a little more in the room. Scrappy almost turned to Peritas as if to say ‘really?!’ when the humans moved on to their second round. Peritas just let out a sigh as if to say ‘yea, my humans, what can you do’ if the dog could shrug his shoulders he probably would.


The days following the wedding were relatively calm and boring compared to everything that had happened since Robert and Chrissie’s failed wedding. Robert had found out about Lachlan’s death which everyone was holding their breaths for, he didn’t really need to fake his surprise as he was genuinely surprised that Aaron actually killed the teen. He didn’t agree with it especially when the young man told him why “she refused to let it go so I made her.”

“You don’t kill someone’s kid because their parents were too stubborn!”

“I’ve killed people for less”

Aaron shrugging the whole thing off like it was nothing made Robert angrier “We agreed this relationship wouldn’t be paved with blood…” He stormed away before Aaron could respond. Chas, of course, had to intervene after she heard Aaron losing it when Robert walked out, she tried to explain to Robert that Aaron’s moral compass was warped “it’s part of who he is now, there’s no changing it…” Robert rolled his eyes at the woman’s words and the regretful tone in her voice. 

“Unlike you, I have no interest in changing him.”  

The truth was that he understood Aaron better than anyone, unlike Chas, Robert knew why he was the way that he was. So he couldn’t be too angry at the younger man for protecting him, he was just tired of the war that his life had seemed to turn into. Despite not agreeing with Aaron’s actions, Robert supported him and showed a united front, not saying a word about it when the police came to interview him about Lachlan’s actions.

He did feel a twisted satisfaction at the teen’s death when it was confirmed that he had poisoned Peritas. Robert wanted to make sure that the teen suffered but Aaron refused to tell him the details “just know that he suffered.” He understood that this was another way for Aaron to protect him, by keeping him away from that world. Robert wasn’t sure how to feel, it’s not that he wanted to join Aaron but at the same time he wouldn’t be opposed to it unless it was to kill or torture someone.

‘I don’t have the stomach for it…’  

Once he ‘learned’ about all the gruesome things that Lachlan had done Robert played the part of a disgusted and shocked victim terrifyingly perfect “I always thought they were so great, like the royal family…” He even got teary eye, it almost made the Dingles wonder if the man could have been a  psychopath. “He just seems to be able to turn that charm on and off like it’s nothing and use it when it suits him to get out of situations.” Of course none of them dare say this in front of Aaron or the man himself mainly for fear of the younger man’s wrath. 

He even managed to gain some pity from the people in the village which was great although some of the things said shocked even him. ‘Holy shit! He really was a psychopath in the making.’


After that the days almost blurred together in a quiet yet peaceful montage, Aaron went back to his normal duties while Robert looked for a job. Scrappy had stayed with them for a few days before the dog got antsy and they took him back to the scrapyard where he could roam and guard to his heart’s content. The rottweiler was much like Peritas in the sense that he was a working dog, he needed a job to fulfill him.

While everyone was settling into their normal lives, Robert was having trouble finding his own normal. He’s never had that before so he wasn’t really sure what it was “why don’t you open your own business?” Jimmy had suggested. At first the blond laughed at the idea, but the more he thought about it the more it made sense. 

‘Maybe opening my own business would be great. I will finally be my own boss…’ 

He brought it up to Aaron who also thought it was a great idea “...but what will it be about?” There were so many possibilities that it became overwhelming to choose, luckily for him, Aaron had the perfect distraction. The younger man always pulled him into a breath stealing snog whenever Robert would become frustrated. Sometimes the snog turned into much more which again Robert had no complaints about.

Once he was able to come up for air from either fucking Aaron or eating him out, Robert made a list of businesses that he might like to open or that he would simply be good at. The top one was a consulting firm but he wouldn’t be fully independent with that as the clients would be a huge part of it and he lost contact with a lot of the connections he made while working for the Whites. Any type of corporate business would be great but ultimately too much stress and Robert was finally looking to calm down.

In the end, the choice was given to him by none other than Diane when she commented “it’s good to see something about you hasn’t changed…” the woman had surprised him in the café after he’s been avoiding her “...you always loved to read. Would get lost in books and hide away in some corner, we had to send a search party to find you.” The woman teased although Robert remembered it a little differently. He remembers his father sometimes pulling him by an ear or hair for not doing his chores. 

“I remember you would read to the animals and they would listen like your own little book club.” He realized the woman was right, Robert had been so busy focusing on all the ways his father ruined a good memory that he pushed away the actual good memory.

 “A bookstore! Sorry Diane, I have research to do.”

He had to know if a bookstore would be successful and if so then where he should put it. His life was exciting enough with bipolar disorder and dating a mob boss, Robert could use a little quiet and boring. He could open the store in Emmerdale as long as he makes it have a dual purpose to bring in more profit. He could double it as a small business consulting firm on the side where he could give advice to small business owners.

“That’s brilliant! See, I knew you would figure it out and to show my support I’ll be a silent investor.”

“Aaron, I can’t…”

“Relax, it will all be legal, even the money will be earned legally. I would never do that to you, I told you I want to keep you away from the flames.”

“A little heat isn’t bad, I’ll be happy to offer consultation for a price” Robert leaned forward smirking at the man, Aaron knew exactly what price his blond was implying and he can’t say that he would mind paying it.

‘Hell, I’ll give it for free’ but he couldn’t confirm how much power Robert had over him although they and everyone in the village knew.

“I’ll keep that in mind.”


Opening a business in Emmerdale was easier said than done mainly because there were no buildings for rent or sale except for one, Robert stood in front of the burnt down house near the cricket pavilion. It was too far from the main square and the road to work as a business but Robert saw something else, he could see potential. All the houses in Emmerdale were old and dated but here Robert could fix and make this one his own. ‘I need to move out of Vic’s place and if I open a business here I can’t live in Aaron’s flat in Hotten, no matter how nice it is.’

The yard was massive for Peritas and any other dogs that may come especially when Peritas retires as his service dog which Robert hated to think about. It was big so Robert could really fix it up and even have a big family some day. But it would be too much money, he couldn’t buy and renovate a house as well as start a business especially a house with no doubt so many problems. But the house almost called to him because he found himself going back to it and even going out of his way to pass by it.

Each time he saw something different, Aaron and him on the sofa watching telly, Peritas and Scrappy running in the yard while Victoria and he sat drinking wine, a pregnant Victoria having her baby shower there...The list went on but the cons kept getting louder as well. Aaron noticed Robert’s strange behavior and new fascination with The Mill cottage. “What’s so fascinating about an old burnt out cottage?” He stood next to the older man trying to see what Robert saw.

“I was thinking it’s time for me to move on…”

“What?!” For a brief moment Aaron panicked that the blond was going to break up with him and run away from the village. Aaron knew that Robert was ‘it’ for him and wherever the man went, Aaron would follow.

“Well, I can’t live with my sister forever. I love Vic and I’m grateful for all she’s done but Peritas and I need our space.”

“You can always move into the flat, you spend most of your time there…”

   “I think if I move out of the village now, Vic would kill me. Besides, it would be nice to plant roots somewhere…Don’t get me wrong, your flat is amazing, everything I would want but Peritas needs space, mainly a yard.”

Aaron could understand what Robert was getting at, Peritas and Robert were a package deal and if one of them wasn’t comfortable then neither of them was comfortable. He just doesn’t get what was so great about the old Mill place but he sees Robert go by it everyday over and over again so obviously the man sees something that Aaron doesn’t. 

Either way Robert wants the place so Aaron makes a call, he asks about the price and the contract. He talks to Robert, discreetly asking how much he would pay if he bought it and what he would ask for. Aaron doesn’t have to ask too much since Robert gives this information freely showing how much he really wants the place and how much thought he gave to it. He still doesn’t get the appeal until one night when he hears Robert on Peritas’ nightly walk talking to the dog, the older man doesn’t even notice he’s listening. 

“Can you see it Peritas, Scrappy and you running around the yard. Aaron and I snuggling on the sofa during winter days or doing something else by the fireplace on a very soft rug. Having Vic’s baby shower or even celebrating with champagne or a pint for Aaron when Vic gives us the good news....”

Suddenly Aaron could see it as if an image in a movie, he could even see Robert getting into gardening in his old age. The image that shocked Aaron more was the little blonde children running around as Aaron tried to chase after them before calling Robert because despite his position they both knew that Robert would end up being the disciplinarian. ‘Watch him still be the favorite…’ There was no way that Aaron was retiring anytime soon, but his family more than proof that he could have that life and still work. ‘I found the perfect partner for it…’ Aaron walked away before Robert could notice him or before he could let the band on future Robert’s finger get to him. He took out his phone and made a call, there was no longer any doubt in his head.

“Buy it, I want the papers in my hand by tomorrow” he ordered before hanging up not even waiting for a response.

‘Our home’


The plan was to surprise Robert on his birthday with The Mill Cottage plus the resources to renovate it. There were no shortage of vendors that would do work for free to get in The Dingles’ good books. He knew that Victoria would no doubt want to plan a party to celebrate her lover so Aaron didn’t plan anything during the day, at night Robert was all his. 

That all would have to wait for a few days instead he focused on the now. Robert was a little down at hearing the Mill was sold so Aaron decided to buy him dinner  at the pub. He wanted to take the man somewhere nice ‘maybe not a nice Italian place he loves so much…’ but Aaron just secured a deal that pissed some people off and the threat level was currently on red which meant that it was safer for the whole to stay in the village. 

He called Adam and let him know so the man could be on the lookout, the couple had left Barcelona and were already in Hawaii so that should be far enough to avoid any backlash, still Robert would be gutted if anything happened to his little sister. He was coming from a security/threat ‘meeting’ at the warehouse and was on his way to meet Robert at the pub when he noticed that there was still some blood under his fingernails

“Damn it!”

He couldn’t go back, he would just have to head into the bathroom before Robert noticed. ‘That motherfucker had to make me dirty my hands before a date, I should kill him just for that…’ Aaron was so distracted by his thoughts that he didn’t notice Chrissie until the woman practically threw herself at his feet. “What the…?” Aaron just raised an eyebrow when he realized who it was “Aaron please, have mercy!” 

“That’s not a word I’m familiar with”

“Please…” the woman ignored the snark and continued her plea “...let my father and I leave. You will never see or hear from us again!”

“I would also not see or hear you again if I killed you both”

Aaron could see the fear flash in Chrissie’s eyes as she began to realize she had bitten off more than she could chew. The woman was too obvious, the glint in her eyes gave her away, Aaron knew that she was up to something he just wasn’t sure what. The woman had been silent since they got back, not even one tearful rant about how they were the devil. Aaron didn’t tell Robert but he had been waiting for the woman to play her final hand. Someone as arrogant as Chrissie wouldn’t admit defeat or let things go when she was humiliated.

He felt like someone was watching them and from the side of his eyes he could see a figure followed by something shiny catching in the light.  It all happened so fast by the time Aaron turned the person was already aiming and firing. All he could do was turn slightly and hope that whoever was behind the gun was a bad shot ‘hopefully they’ll miss me and hit the whining bitch.’ Then for a brief moment the dumb motherfucker stepped into the light and Aaron saw him as he sneered at him.

‘So that’s their play, you better hope I die…’ that is his last coherent thought before it all goes black.

“AARON!”


Robert knows he’s late, usually Aaron was the one late so Robert was not looking forward to the teasing. He had been working on his business plan and took Peritas to play with his new four legged best friend Scrappy. He could see the pub but as he grew closer something seemed off, a woman stood out front and someone laid on the floor. The light of the pub illuminated them as he grew closer and Robert’s blood froze when he got a good look at who it was.

“AARON!”

He ran over briefly noticing that the woman was none other than Chrissie before falling to his knees before the man he loved. “Come on, Aaron, wake up. You can’t leave me…” he knew that he was starting to panic and that wasn’t going to help Aaron. Instead he took off his jacket and added pressure to the gunshot wound. “What happened?!” The woman just flinched and shook her head frantically. “Call for help!” he ordered but again the woman just shook her head frantically as if in shock before trying to run off.

“Peritas, take down!”

Robert ordered the dog pointing to the running woman, he was so happy he taught the dog that outside of his regular training. He was even prouder when the animal sunk his teeth into the woman’s leg and took her down, shaking his head but not letting go. Chrissie let out a high pitch scream that was definitely heard in the pub. “What’s going on out here?” Chas walked out demanding answers, expecting to see anything except Chrissie being bitten by Robert’s service animal while the man put pressure on her bleeding son’s gunshot wound.

“Aaron!” Chas rushed to her son’s side, panicking for a brief moment before her training as a mob boss herself kicked in “what happened?!”

Nobody responded to the woman, Chrissie was too busy screaming and begging for help while trying to kick Peritas with her other leg. Some villagers tried to get close and pull the dog away but the animal growled furiously and shook his head tearing more into her leg. They realized that their help was making it worse and there was only one person that could make the animal stop. “Robert! You have to call him off. Have you lost your mind?!” Diane demanded and exclaimed at the same time, her hands on her hip like a disapproving mother.

But the man ignored them all, busy putting pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding while staring at the face of his partner, who was getting paler and paler by the minute. No one heard him whisper sweet words and empty threats to the younger man.  He felt like Aaron was slipping from his hands and he could do nothing to save him “don’t you see he’s a little busy on something much more important!” Belle snapped at the older woman, she was the only one with medical training so she knew that Robert was the only one keeping Aaron from bleeding out.

“Keep putting pressure Robert, as hard as you can until you feel the bleeding slow or stop.”

Belle instructed taking control of the situation Debbie had stepped away without anyone noticing and was on the phone demanding blood or someone’s head whichever came first. The village was supposed to be safe, this should not have happened. She would burn their enemies to the ground if any of them had anything to do with this although Debbie had a feeling that this had nothing to do with the family business. 

The business was mostly kept away from Emmerdale, they were very strict about who walked in and out of the village especially now since Aaron wanted to avoid anything like Jackson happening to Robert. They knew everything that went on in the village and knew everything about everyone inside it, even the secrets they tried to hide from others. There was no way a spy or assassin could’ve gotten into the village without them knowing, there was no one that would even try since their residence in the village was not a known fact even some of their own people didn’t know. 

She checked with their border control and they confirmed no one new had entered the village. “That only means…” Debbie turned to stare at the still screaming woman on the floor being held down by the jaws of the massive German Shepherd. Suddenly Debbie became suspicious, Peritas wasn’t one to attack anyone mainly because it wasn’t in the dog’s training unless Robert was in danger.  

Debbie knew that despite all Chrissie had done and the tension between them, Robert wouldn’t physically attack her for no reason and even worse he wouldn’t order Peritas to do it. But Chrissie isn’t one to get her hands dirty, if the woman is behind the attack on Aaron then she paid someone to do it. She could hear the sirens from the ambulance “Peritas....” finally the blond man spoke up “...come.” That was all he had to say before the dog released the woman, whose leg started to gush out blood, and rushed to his side. 

“Good boy”

Chas and Belle who were the closest to the blond man heard him whisper softly to the dog. The animal leaned on Robert's side offering support and whining slightly, he licked Robert’s cheeks every once in a while and suddenly they remembered the reason Robert had Peritas. They wondered and worried that the blond man was about to snap and lose control but Aaron was more important so they focused on the bleeding man. The paramedics rushed over, one made his way to Chrissie but was stopped by Moira “forget her, he’s the most critical. She’ll be fine for a few minutes, he won’t!”

The paramedic seemed torn but when faced with multiple Dingles blocking his way he had no choice but to go help his comrade with Aaron. They had some trouble pulling Robert away who seemed to have been stuck to the bleeding man, in the end Chas and Belle softly pulled the man away to let the professionals work. 

“Robert, you have to let them work”

“You did great, you bought him time.”

Diane tried to walk over to the man but he was surrounded by a blockade of Dingles that refused to let her near him. “Now you want to show interest and play the worried stepmother. Focus on her like you wanted to apparently she’s more your family than our Robert.” Moira snapped at the old woman and a few people noted the possessive use of ‘our’ by the woman; the fact that the other Dingles present said nothing was a clear declaration. The Dingles were staking their claim on Robert, he was one of them now and that meant he was off limits.

All this time the man didn’t say a word, just stared at the paramedics stabilizing Aaron before strapping him in. He walked over to the ambulance to get on “I’m sorry he can’t come…” the paramedic pointed to Peritas by Robert’s side. There was fear in her eyes which was understandable since the dog looked like a wolf that tore its prey apart. His mouth and most of his face was covered in blood, he looked wild despite the softness in his eyes.

“What?! He’s a service dog…”

The paramedic raised an eyebrow at the statement as if she wasn’t sure that was true, no doubt she’s never seen a service dog covered in blood that wasn’t his looking more like a guard dog than a service dog. “It doesn’t matter, there is no space for him on board” Robert stepped forward “we’re wasting time…” he led Peritas to Chas’ side “stay” before ordering the animal. The dog whined but sat and stayed as his human walked away, Chas held on to his vest “Don’t worry love, we’ll be right behind you. We’ll bring him with us…” Robert send her a grateful look before turning to Cain 

“She knows something…” He pointed to Chrissie and Cain nodded “go, we’ll take care of it.”

Cain had figured that there was a reason Robert ordered Peritas to hold the woman down, the fact that she tried to hop away when she was helped up just reaffirmed that. Cain sent Debbie a look, with Aaron out of commission the woman was officially in charge so they needed her direction. He was proud to see that Debbie gave nothing away, she had already fallen into her role. The second ambulance had arrived while they were working on Aaron so as the first ambulance pulled out Debbie got into the second one with Chrissie. There was no way they were letting the woman out of their sight until she talked or better yet they made her.

‘She messed with the wrong family’ 

Chapter Text

The world was moving too fast yet too slow at the same time “code blue in pediatrics” it was all chaotic yet calm, and it was hard to focus on anything at once. “Dr. Calston to cardiology…” Since they arrived at the hospital Robert had been left alone as Aaron was taken away. He heard a high pitch ringing in his ear as his brain worked over time to focus but all he could focus on was on how white and boring the walls looked while the red on his hands was bright and vibrant. Robert felt a compulsion to move forward and paint a mural with the painting that Aaron had provided 

‘It would be such a waste…they look too much like that place…’

Just as he was going to give in to the urge a flash of fur ran over to him and sat between his legs. Robert felt something wet lick his face and heard the whines that always pulled him back from the edge ‘that’s right, Aaron needs me…’ The Dingles rushed into the waiting room one after the other; Chas all self-righteous, demanding answers from the staff when she saw that Robert was in no state to talk. Faith, who had arrived with her daughter rushed over to the blond man “It’s going to be okay love, our Aaron is stronger than he looks…” She didn’t expect an answer so she  wasn’t mad when she didn’t get it. 

“I want to speak to whoever's in charge, now!”

‘So much noise!’

“Is he okay?”

Robert could hear more voices, he knows he should recognize them but he’s too focused on hanging on by a thread so thin it made a single strand of hair look thick. “I think poor fella is in shock” he wanted to pet Peritas but he didn’t want to get Aaron’s blood on his fur ‘Aaron paid for a really nice grooming and spa, it’d be a waste…’ It felt like hours had passed but also no more than a few seconds before he saw a white rag in his line of sight covering his hands “let’s just clean this right up…”

Faith slowly wiped the man’s bloody hands clean as he watched the rag with a worrying fascination.  She cleaned as much as she could get without disturbing either the man or his dog. Fortunately Lisa helped her when the woman arrived so between the two they had the man mostly cleaned up except for the red under his nails. As soon as his hands were mostly clean Robert buried them in Peritas fur and leaned forward so that his chin was touching the dog’s head. “What did they say?” Faith turned to her daughter who was clearly frustrated. “He's still in surgery but I’m going to get us moved to a private waiting area.”

Robert doesn’t remember the move all he remembers was Peritas firmly by his side and someone softly speaking to him. One minute they were in the white room, the next they were in a pale green room that still seemed too blank for him but he no longer had the painting provided by Aaron to change that. Now that Chas knew her son was being taken care of, after she called in the best doctors in their network and flew them over to treat her son, she could focus on her son’s partner.

Even for someone not aware of his condition, it was clear that the man was not okay; he hadn’t spoken since they got here even when Faith and Lisa cleaned him off. She was worried that Robert was having one of his episodes ‘that’s the last thing we need right now.’ Aaron would be pissed if they let anything physically or mentally happen to the blond so she called in a doctor to check on the man. Again the man didn’t even blink as the doctor checked him over “he’s bipolar and we’re worried he’s having an episode…” Belle explained taking over like she usually did for anything medical related.

“You said he was the first person present…?”

“Yea, he was stopping the bleeding when we arrived.”

“And he has a relationship with the patient?”

“Yea, their partners…” there was a defensive tone to the young girl’s voice, she knew how often times people got when a same sex couple was seen or mentioned.

“He’s most likely still in shock, everyone experiences shock differently. He’s not displaying the symptoms of a manic or depressive episode, just the shock of watching someone he cared about in such a state.”

Those words made everyone sigh in relief, Aaron was extremely protective of Robert therefore they had to be protective of the man because he kept Aaron balanced. They’ve seen how Aaron got when Robert was hurt and what happened to Debbie, none of them wanted that wrath aimed at them. So for all intended purposes until Aaron was okay, Robert was made of paper and had to be protected. They left Peritas to handle Robert and wait out his shock  while they all focused on other things.


Marlon and Sam checked the markets and made sure that news did not get around about what happened, if people, especially their competitors found out Aaron was down it would be a free for all. It was a well-known fact that people respected the Dingle name but no one in the family was under any misconception that they feared Aaron more than they respected the family. Aaron had made a name for himself as ‘The executioner’ because he rarely left anyone that pissed him off alive. Which might not seem different from any boss but Aaron usually had others take care of those issues “It’s important that they prove themselves.” He was hardly seen so when the man made an appearance it meant that he was pissed off and he was leaving no prisoners.

Like an executioner, he’s not present in the trial but if you get to see him that means that you were about to die. Aaron was also known for his cold and volatile temper so it was safe to say that people were terrified of the young man and would do anything to remain in his good graces. But with that being said there were those that prayed and wanted the man to show a moment of weakness so that they could take over. That was why Chas made sure that the hospital security was air tight, normally that would be Adam’s job but the man was still on his honeymoon so it fell on her. 

Debbie never thought she would actually get to be in charge unless Aaron retired, it was something she accepted and was fine with. She had seen all that Aaron had to deal with and she wasn’t sure that she wanted that massive weight on her shoulders. Debbie had no doubt that she could handle it but she didn’t want to. To be the boss she would have to give up part of her humanity like she’s seen Aaron do time and time again. She would have to order and perform gruesome acts without so much as a flinch.

For her children, she wanted to stay as human as she could but it was also for herself. It was important to her that she remained grounded in her humanity. It was not to say that she was a good person, she knew that she wasn’t a good person and sometimes she would go home and hug her children tightly to release the guilt that on rare occasions made an appearance. Like when Aaron ordered them to burn down the barn of a rival with their own spies and honey pot still there. Her cousin didn’t even blink but that night Debbie went home and lay in bed with her twins, just watching them sleep. The nightmares were especially hard that night and it took her a while to shake it off.

So she knew that she could not take on Aaron’s job permanently and not because of her gender but just because she was still not at the level Aaron was at. ‘Maybe in the future once the kids were older…’ Instead she found herself helping out anyway she could and giving it her all as she took over temporarily. The amount of texts, calls and fires -both literal and metaphorical- she had to put out made her appreciate and admire her cousin so much more.

Critical condition, medically induced coma

She deleted the text as soon as she read it and she was pissed; whoever did this was going to regret all their life decisions. Debbie had one of their nurses and doctor guard and treat Chrissie White while also getting security to stand guard over Aaron. She made sure to get their shadow squad -which were soldiers trained to be invisible- they were their elite force and usually only used for sensitive tasks like keeping close watch on the Queen, American president or even the Russian president. Aaron had placed one on Robert and had taken some with him on his trip to Barcelona after Debbie’s insistence.

Big Brother is ON now.

That text made her smile, it was good that something was going their way. She also deleted it once it was read. Debbie never left messages on her phone because even with their codes there were still government agencies that studied and tried to learn everything about them in an effort to catch them. ‘No point in making it easy on them’ the text was from one of their techs that had snuck into Chrissie’s room while the woman was unconscious and planted cameras and microphones so they could watch the woman. Debbie had no doubt that sooner or later the woman would rat herself out all she had to do was wait and if it took too long Debbie would give her a little nudge.


The first interesting thing caught on camera was Lawrence rushing frantically to his daughter’s side as he immediately began to demand and order the staff around like he paid their checks or they were there just for his family. “What’s happened to her?! Is she even being treated?!” Lawrence pointed at the lack of bandages on the woman’s leg. The leg had a bunch of staples pulling at her skin in a long line but it had no bandages. Chrissie was mostly out of it thanks to the sedatives she was given but when the nurse tried to explain the reason for the lack of bandages the man was hearing none of it.

“What if she gets an infection?! How incompetent can you be!?”

“Sir, I assure you the doctors know what they’re doing…”

“I don’t care! I want my daughter taken care of!”

The nurse bit her lip to stop herself from snapping at the older man who was clearly emotionally distraught. But it was still hard to take his arrogance and entitlement when they were just doing their job  “she is being taken care of, sir.” The nurse kept her professionalism and polite tone despite the man testing it. Debbie rolled her eyes at the video and stopped watching, there was nothing of use there as the man continued to irrationally berate the nurse.

Lawrence turned back to his daughter as the nurse finally rushed away hopefully to get someone more competent that actually knew what was going on. He got the call that his daughter was attacked and had been taken to the hospital but no one would tell him who or what attacked her. He would have to wait until she woke up and told him, fortunately he didn’t have to wait long. Within the next few minutes his daughter began to show signs of waking up.

“Chrissie, Chrissie dear, can you hear me?”

“Father…?”

“It’s okay, don’t force yourself.”

“Where…?”

“You’re in the hospital, do you remember what happened?”

For a moment the room was filled with silence as a confused Chrissie seemed to almost go through her memories like an archivist searching for a specific file. Lawrence tried to be patient but he wanted to know what happened, his daughter had told him she was going out for a walk and never came back. When she didn’t answer her phone he worried and rushed out to find her. He kept away from the village since he heard that Aaron had come back and he didn’t want to give the younger man a reason to attack them before they could leave. 

Lawrence also knew that Chrissie would be smart enough to stay away from Aaron and Robert. He had been looking for hours before he got the terrifying call that his daughter was attacked, he had rushed to the hospital assuming the worst. Either one of the Dingles got their hands on her or she was attacked by some wild animal, he doesn’t know which would be worse. When he arrived no one would tell him anything, just that she was attacked by some animal.

“The mutt! Get him off me! Please Robert, make him stop...It hurts!”

Suddenly Chrissie became hysterical as she tossed and turned while Lawrence tried to hold her down and snapped her out of her panic. It did not slip his notice that she mentioned Robert and Lawrence felt the fury rise within him ‘if that bastard had anything to do with this…’ The doctors came in and sedated the woman to calm her down. Lawrence immediately demanded answers from the doctor unaware that she worked for the Dingles.

“What happened to my daughter?!”

“She was brought in with a bite on her leg after being attacked by some animal. I don’t know much of the details as she has mostly been sedated because when she’s awake this…” the doctor pointed at the woman “...happens.”

With Chrissie's frantic words and the confirmation from the Doctor, Lawrence was able to put everything together and his suspicion was confirmed. He stared at his daughter and felt the anger slowly begin to overwhelm him, Robert had no doubt gotten his mutt to attack his poor defenseless daughter in a twisted form of revenge. “It was Robert’s mutt!” the doctor raised an eyebrow “excuse me?” She knew who Robert Sugden was but she also knew the man off limits and was under the protection of Aaron Dingle himself ‘the man can’t be stupid enough to…’

“He got his dog to attack my daughter as if they haven’t hurt us enough but he will not get away with this!”

‘Apparently he is’

“Sir, I’m not sure what…”

“Is she going to be okay?” The man’s mood changes were giving the doctor whiplash but she wasn’t naïve enough to believe that he was letting the issue go. She has been a doctor for too long and worked with the Dingles even longer so she knew when someone was trying to distract her and even manipulate her. It was clear that the man was plotting something ‘I have to tell the boss…’ 

“The wound has been treated but she would need to remain off the leg...”

“When can I take her home?”

“We will be monitoring her for a while until the wound is better and she has calmed down.”

Lawrence dismissed the doctor as if the woman was some whiny peasant and he was tired of her presence. The woman looked annoyed and she wanted to tell the man off, in the not so professional or polite way. She worked her arse off for her medical degree for some old entitled bastard to treat her like some secretary. But she was ordered not to engage so she swallowed her pride and walked out of the room. Once alone Lawrence began plotting, he could not let Robert get away with hurting his daughter, the man had already ruined his reputation.

‘Thanks to him everyone thinks I’m some perverted old man…’

The secret he had been keeping all his life was just thrown in the open by the younger man and now he had his dog attack his daughter who had done nothing to him. They were finally leaving the blasted village but the man just couldn’t let them leave in peace. Robert was high on the power he held for dating someone like Aaron and knowing things about the Whites that they didn’t want people to know. Lawrence could not let him continue to get away with his tyranny without facing some consequences. With Aaron down for the count ‘and hopefully forever’ Lawrence felt that it was his chance to actually attack.

‘The Queen is out of commission and the King has been left unguarded.’ (AN: This is a Chess reference, Lawrence seems like the guy that would play chess just to be snobby. I have never played chess nor do I understand the game but from my research the Queen is the most powerful piece (Aaron) while the King has more value (if Aaron lost Robert, world would probably burn) but less powerful (Robert). I thought it was a fitting comparison but if you play Chess and I got it completely wrong, don’t lose your head just enjoy my version of the comparison.)


Lawrence took out his phone and made a call, one of his contacts had been helpful in giving him the number of an officer that was not corrupt and might actually listen to them “it’s all I can do for you and only because I owe you a favor but after this we’re even and if asked I never helped you…” It was another thing that Robert took away from him because he has no doubt that Robert was the one influencing and manipulating Aaron to cut them off. The man was almost obsessed, he couldn’t leave them alone. 

He cursed the day he met the young man and he cursed the fact that even now his body was still drawn to the blond. No matter how much he hated him, no one could really deny that the man was handsome. Lawrence still remembers that night he first met Robert, it had been a moment of weakness when he let go of all inhibitions and decided to have what he’s always wanted for one night. He had been so overwhelmed, the music was loud and the people even louder. Worse of all he was possibly the oldest person there and it made him feel like an old pervert but then he saw him.

The tall blond was in a corner leaning against the wall, all on his own but with men and women floating around like bees drawn to a flower. His hair seemed almost white in the lights while his eyes almost glowed as if they were lights of their own. There was a confidence and charisma around him that made Lawrence feel brave. He was pulled by the younger man’s magnetism, one that Robert had yet to lose to this day and age. He found it impossible to resist and Lawrence was in front of the younger man before he knew what he was doing. The blond simply raised an eyebrow that made Lawrence feel small but important at the same time.

“You don’t come here often.”

It hadn’t been a question and Lawrence hadn’t given an answer, for some reason Robert had deemed him worthy of his time and attention, putting him above everyone else in the room. He impressed the younger man with his wealth and success, he didn’t care that the younger man seemed almost erratic. He had gotten a call from Chrissie at that moment and was snapped back to reality. He rushed out in a panic almost as if Chrissie would know where he was even if he didn’t pick up her call. He didn’t say anything to the younger man but Robert never followed him out so Lawrence was sure one of those vultures around the younger man took the opportunity to grab his attention. 

Lawrence turned back to his daughter lying in the hospital bed sedated and was suddenly ashamed as he remembered how he felt when she introduced him to Robert because while he mostly panicked, a part of him was excited to possibly get another chance with the younger man. Then becoming discouraged when Robert didn’t seem to recognize him. Those first days he was filled with deep jealousy every time he saw them together and even after, if he was honest with himself, he was still a little jealous.

‘I have been a horrible father, I let that man succeed in coming between us…but no more!’

Lawrence picked up the phone, by the time Aaron woke up or be well enough to do anything they would be long gone ‘if there’s any good in the world, he won’t wake up...but bad seed never dies…’ He walked out the room to take the call so as to not disturb his daughter, unknowingly avoiding the cameras and microphones in the room. Lawrence made sure that the hall was cleared, mainly out of paranoia. He knew that the Dingles were in the hospital for Aaron and he wanted to avoid catching them in the halls.

“Yes, I would like to report a dog attack, the animal is a danger to society and needs to be taken care of.”

“Of course sir, where is the animal now?”


Peritas could smell the sickness on his human, it wasn’t as pungent yet but it was getting strong. He knew that his job was to help and heal the human but he felt like he was failing because no matter what he did, his human kept getting sick. His human got strange when he was sick, sometimes he forgot about Peritas but other times he bought him treats and took him on long runs. It was confusing but he knew that despite liking the treats, the sickness was bad for his human and it always ended up making him sad.

His human always played with sharp and dangerous things when he was sad and Peritas always had to stop him. The man had been happier since meeting his mate, Peritas liked this mate better than the last one because this one liked him and understood that Peritas had a very important job to do. He never glared or smelled burnt and bitter when Peritas was around like the bitch (AN: this is the female dog version of it but pun intended) his mate had before. The new mate also knew that Peritas and Robert had a special bond and didn’t try to break them up. The new mate understood the pack’s hierarchy.

Sometimes the new mate helped Peritas keep the sickness away although he didn’t have the training Peritas did. Now the new mate was hurt so he couldn’t help and the sickness was coming back. Peritas allowed the young female human to clean his muzzle only because she wasn’t trying to pull him away from his human and his fur was getting itchy as the bad human’s blood dried up. He didn’t really like the big white place because it was always loud and the scent of sickness and death was too overpowering but he would go wherever his human was because the man needed him.

Belle gently cleaned the dog’s muzzle with a wet rag, letting Faith and Lisa focus on the still mostly dazed Robert. Her mother somehow got the man to drink some water although it was mostly her holding the cup and putting it up to his mouth. Lisa had been the first of them to really warm up and accept Robert even before any of them knew how serious things were. Faith on the other hand divided her time between keeping her daughter from cutting off the head of the staff and trying to make everyone, especially Robert smile.

“Now we can live our love, loud and free…”

Her strategy would have gotten Aaron to rip her head off and Belle wasn’t sure if she was just taking advantage of Aaron’s absences to flirt with the blond. Faith’s attraction for the blond was no secret, she often flirted with him getting eyerolls from the man and glares from Aaron. Belle was sure that if Aaron wasn’t sure that his grandmother was harmless and didn’t mean anything by it or that Robert found her amusing then she would have been long dead.

“Think about it love, we could be like Bonnie and Clyde…”

Again that comment got eyerolls from the family even Chas took a break from terrorizing the staff to shake her head at her mother. Belle was happy when she noticed Robert’s lip twitch, maybe the man wasn’t too far gone. Suddenly the atmosphere wasn’t so thick or heavy as they all waited to get news on Aaron. The director of the hospital himself had come to update them to keep Chas calm as most of his staff were too terrified of the woman to even go near the private waiting room. 

“He’s still in surgery but we have the best doctors taking care of him, please stop terrorizing my staff so that they may do their jobs.”

They had been surprised and slightly impressed by the woman’s bravery, not many would face Chastity Dingle. But the director did not back down and Chas had not been willing to back down either. “Chas let them work, we need them to focus on him not you” it had been the first and only time that Robert had spoken up but it had the desired effect of getting the woman to back off. It worked for a few hours until the woman became restless again and started pacing. It made them all roll their eyes but only Faith had done anything about it.

“Faith, you really want Aaron to skin you alive, don’t you?”

“What he doesn't know won’t hurt him…or me….” she nudged Robert wiggling her eyebrows suggestively “right love?” Robert didn’t react but he also didn’t flinch from her touch so again it was a win.

“Victoria and Adam are on their way back”

“Good, Cain could use some help on his hunt.”

“Although what better help than Moira…”

“True, if you’re hunting anyone down there is no one like an ex-assassin to help out.”


Cain glared at the blood stain on the ground in front of the Woolpack as if it had personally offended him. He would’ve gotten their team to clean it up but they needed to leave everything as is so as to not disturb the scene. To the side his wife was crouched down looking between the blood splatters and different locations. “What do you think?” Cain was under no misconception, he knew and could admit that in this case his wife was the expert.

“It definitely wasn’t done by a professional”

“How can you tell?”

She send her husband an unimpressed stare, that clearly said how stupid she thought that question was. Instead of responding she continued looking around ‘based on Aaron’s wound and where he was standing, whoever did this wasn’t too far…’ she stood a few inches away from the blood splatter after calculating the distance of Aaron’s feet to his chest and turned in different directions ‘the bullet entered his back so…’ She stood with her back to the street but noticed that there was no place close enough for someone to shoot her nephew from that angle.

‘All those places are too far, if his back was turned this way then they would’ve been standing in the street and Chrissie would’ve seen them even Robert would’ve seen them running away.’

From what she could tell Robert arrived fairly quickly which wouldn’t have given the person enough time to get away or hide. The hedges were too low to hide behind them, she also didn’t see shell casing or gunpowder on the street. She then turned her back to the Woolpack, she turned to look at the smaller splatters of blood from Chrissie. The woman was standing in front of Aaron when it happened ‘...if Robert sent Peritas to attack her it must have been for a reason…’

Cain stood back and let his wife work, even after years together she still managed to blow him away with her skills. Despite being out of the game for a while now, she had not lost her touch. Seeing her in her element reminded him of the moment they meant, the cat and mouse game between the two that followed. Moria was part of the Boyd clan, a family well known for training the best mercenaries in the underworld. The family was cold but efficient, they never picked sides or got involved unless they were being pained.

They had no loyalty to anyone but themselves and were considered a fairly neutral party within their world. The Dingles had never used or needed their services, they always had and trained their own people. But there was a mutual understanding between the two families that as long as the Boyds didn’t take sides then the Dingles wouldn’t take anything they were paid to do against them personally.

“It’s just business”

All that changed when Cain met Moira or better yet when she was hired to kill him but instead caught his interest. His sister had just taken over and he had become her second in command but before that he had already built a reputation as a man not to be messed with except the new McFarlane generation wasn’t too bright and didn’t heed this warning. One of them had the audacity to put a hit out on Cain. He would’ve killed the arrogant arseholes if it hadn’t been the best thing that ever happened to him instead he made sure to thank them, the Dingle way.


Flashback

Cain knew that he was being followed, the person was good but Cain had been trained to notice these things since before he could walk or talk. The stalking had been going on for a few days but Cain wanted to wait and see what the person did. He was aching for a good fight since the McFarlane kid was too much of a coward to challenge him. Sometimes he wished that they didn’t have any treaty with the family because the new generations for most families left a lot to be desired. 

‘They weren’t worthy of respect…’

Cain entered a café and ordered a drink before sitting down in the farthest corner that couldn’t be seen through the window then just waited. He knew that whoever was following him would have to come inside to continue their watch. Cain watched every person that walked in but none of them seemed like the one, he spent hours in the café but the person never came in. When he left he felt the person follow him again and was intrigued.

‘Apparently you’re smarter than I thought…’

Flashback ends


“They shot from here”

His wife’s voice snapped him out of his thoughts, he turned to see her standing off to the side of the pub. She had her fingers up like a gun and was pointing in his general direction and moving around until she found the right angle. “It should be…” she looked around the floor, sweeping the ground with her feet as if sifting for something “...Here!” She picked something up and turned it to him, it was a shell casing.

The woman looked so excited like a kid finding some buried treasure, she looked so proud of herself that Cain wanted to kiss her. “A simple 9mm”  she walked over showing him the casing “can you track the owner?” If they can track the person that owns the gun, finding out who fired it would be much easier. “That won’t be easy, 9mm is such a common gun to own and so easy for anyone to get their hands on. They’re like Iphones...” Cain knew that she was right, the gun was too common for them to find the person just based on that.

“The person that did this has nothing to do with the business…” Cain declared as his suspicion was confirmed by all the evidence “...but Chrissie does know them somehow.”

“A friend she paid?”

“No, Aaron made sure they had no friends in their corner.”

“Then someone that also wanted revenge…”

“That’s what I was thinking but who?”


Back in the hospital, in the private waiting room Robert was just calming down although he still wasn’t at speaking level yet but the doctor had told them that Aaron made it out of surgery and they were going to transfer him to a room. The news of the coma was what kept Robert still on the edge. He focused on Peritas only mustering some attention when the doctors came in to talk about Aaron’s condition. Because of this, he missed the moment that the constables walked in or how every Dingle present tensed up.

“Officer, I don’t think Robert is able to talk about what happened yet, as you can see he’s still in shock.”

Chas knew that was not what the officers were there for because they had chosen the inspector ‘in charge’ of the investigation which was all for appearances since Aaron’s shooting was such a public event. “We’re not here to collect any statements ma’am…” she noticed the animal control agents behind the officers and got a sense of forbidding ‘that bitch wouldn’t be so stupid…’ but based of the way the officers eyes survey the room before landing on Peritas, Chas realized that she was.

“Someone reported a vicious dog that attacked a woman, as regulation we are here to collect the animal until a court decides what will be done with it.”

“You can’t take him!”

“Yea, Robert needs him!”

“Can’t you read, he’s a service dog therefore he’s protected by law…!” (AN: Again not sure if in the UK they have a law protecting service animals but I know here in the US they are protected under the Americans with Disability Act.)

“That does not apply if it attacks a person, he’s still an animal…”

The animal control agent declared sternly, he was used to dealing with this kind of behavior whenever he had to collect an animal that attacked someone. It filled him with fury that people got dogs and never trained them or trained them for the wrong thing and in the end the animal was the one that had to pay for it. Then it all creates a bad rep for the animal while the human gets away with a slap on the wrist. It was sickening and there was no one that he hated more than people like the blond man before them. His heart hurt at the German Shepherd sitting loyally between his human’s legs.

‘Despicable!’

He wanted to take the animal away from the human that would use him as his own personal attack dog. He wouldn’t put it past the man to be one of those people that abuse the system to get a service/emotional support animal when they don’t need it. ‘He’s clearly perfectly healthy’ to the animal control agent, the man looked like the type, all smarmy and smug. He hopes that the constable arrested him and that this time the dog was not put down. ‘It’s not fair, he doesn’t deserve it.’

“He’s not just an animal, if you could read you would know that.”

Belle snapped at the man that was beginning to glare at Robert disapprovingly, she pointed to the vest that clearly said ‘service dog’ in big bold letters followed by ‘don’t pet’ in smaller but still visible letters. “That means nothing, you would be surprised how many people would get ‘service animals’ and don’t really need them.” The man rolled his eyes and at this point Belle was fuming “well, that’s not Robert.” The man was clearly making assumptions and judging Robert based on what other people have done.

“There is clearly nothing wrong with him!”

The man seemed to lose his patience and exclaimed, the Dingles realized that the man wasn’t seeing Robert and Peritas at the moment. It was almost as if he was punishing Robert for something others have done. “How would you know? Are you a doctor? Do you have a medical or Psychology degree?!” Belle was not backing down either, she was a Dingle after all and Lisa had never been more proud of her daughter. Through all this Robert and Peritas remained attached to each other completely ignorant to the chaos around them. 

‘Thank god for small blessings…’

Lisa knew that if the man was responsive, he would’ve made the situation so much worse. Robert had a way of getting under people’s skin and pissing them off to the point that they wanted to punch him. There was no way that the man was going to give Peritas up without a fight both verbally and physically. She never thought of Robert as a fighter but if Aaron getting shot taught them anything, it was that the blond had a vicious streak when defending the people he cared about which included Aaron, Peritas and most likely Victoria.

“That’s enough! We have to take the dog in, you can appeal to a judge but its protocol and anyone who opposes that will be arrested for obstruction of justice.”

“The dog was defending his owner!”

“I’m sorry but we have to take him away, you can get him back after an investigation if the court allows…”

Peritas is busy licking Robert’s chin, the sight was adorable and it had them all awe-ing in their heads. The constable felt bad because he knew that this was going to be a heart wrenching one, there was no way the dog would let go without a fight. The animal control agent couldn’t help but hate his job in moments like these ‘all this could’ve been avoided.’ The constable walked over to the blond man who had not acknowledged their presence since they arrived.

“Sir, we're going to have to take the dog now.”

Again no response from the man who just continued to stare at the floor while he almost subconsciously ran his hands through the dog’s fur. The constable wanted to be civil and considerate but the man was making it difficult, in cases like this he always wanted to give the people a chance to say goodbye because oftentimes they never saw the dog again. The animal control agent rolled his eyes and glared at the blond, he didn’t have the same consideration for the man. He walked over and reached to grab the dog but suddenly a hand grabbed his wrist in a crushing grip.

“You touch him and I will use every ounce of your blood to paint the blank walls in this room.”

Finally the blond had looked up and the agent was assaulted by a cold murderous glare from grey/blue eyes that were like a horrible storm that ravaged everything in its path leaving a trail of pain and destruction behind. Those eyes and those words alone terrified him but what was worse was the promise within them. This wasn’t just some empty threat, this man meant every word he said “sir, I’m going to ask you to release him.” Fortunately the constable stepped forward and sternly ordered the blond.

Robert didn’t even flinch at the officer’s command, he just continued to glare the animal control agent down. Instead Robert tightened his hold on the man’s wrist making the man scream out in pain. There was a certain detachment in the blonde’s eyes almost as if he didn’t care that he was hurting someone or didn’t really realize. The constable stepped forward to no doubt use force but he had forgotten about the Dingles, Faith and Belle stepped in his way blocking Robert from view. 

“You are all violating the law and I can and will arrest you…”

“Then arrest us but you’re not taking that dog!”

“You don’t want to do that love”

Faith warned with a sharp sweetness that was more dangerous than any insult or angry tone. It was condescending and disrespectful, the constable was used to dealing with such behavior especially from older people but instead of the glint of over confidence and entitlement, there was a promise she clearly had no doubt she could fulfill. The constable noticed that the rest of the family had stood ready to attack and he was about to call for backup when he got a call from the head of the precinct.

“Sir...I’m following up on a dog attack complaint but the people here are...But sir…I will, as soon as...No sir!”

The Dingles watched the one sided conversation as the constable went from sure and stern to frantic and panic. The satisfaction and smugness from the Dingles filled the room like a heavy thick blanket. Robert had released the animal control agent after some coaxing from Lisa, the man fell back and stared at Robert like he was a monster but the man was no longer looking at him. The blond was back to focusing on Peritas while the dog was completely unbothered by what just happened.

“I have to go but don’t leave the city, I will be back.”

“But we can’t leave the dog with that man…!”

“It’s out of my hands right now…” Belle and Faith grin smugly at the animal control agent “...but we will be back.”

Constable warned and the animal control agent wasn’t happy at all, he looked like he wanted to argue “why can’t we take it now?” He was sure that the dog was not in good hands and he didn’t want to leave the poor creature in that situation. “Because clearly they're not going to release him easily so this will take more time and manpower than just us.” The constable was clearly exasperated by the whole situation, the smugness from the family, being told off by his boss for wasting his time and the annoying whining from the animal control agent wasn’t helping his mood.

“Fine!” the animal control agent turned to the Dingles before glaring at Robert “I’ll be back.” 

“No, you won’t” 

No one expected the blond to respond so much so that the constable and animal control agent were almost out the door before they heard the man speak. For the first time Robert acknowledged their existence, stormy eyes stared back at them almost as if daring them to try. Robert got up and walked over to the agents with Peritas following between his legs, shocking everyone in the private waiting room. The animal control agent flinched away from the man 

“Sir, that animal…”

“The only way you will take him from me is by killing me. You try it again and a body will be leaving this room...not sure it will be mine.” The icy tone and promise had both men speechless even the Dingles were impressed. Before the constable could respond, Robert slammed the door in his face ending the conversation.

‘Holy shit! Definitely better suited for our Aaron than Jackson.’

Chas, who had been watching the whole scene after calling their contact to get rid of the man, was worried. This behavior was so unlike Robert or at least the Robert she has seen so far. That could only mean that the man was worse than she thought. She remembered Robert in a manic episode but she was sure that wasn’t it since he was far too calm. Chas didn’t know much about the disorder but she was sure that depression didn’t make you attack other people.

‘This is not good…’


Flashback

It had been a brisk day in Ireland when his stalker attacked, Cain had just finished up a deal and was walking down the street when a slim knife that looked almost like an icicle flew past him. He froze for a brief second before he rushed to find some cover. Whoever they were, they are a professional because in the snow and the Ireland winter the knife wouldn’t even get a second look. Anyone would think he was just some poor bloke that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The attempts didn’t stop there and Cain realized that his stalker went from stalker to assassin and it was no longer int