Having fun and shifting for the first time…
Vash had spent two days just eating and sleeping in Casey’s spare room. It was good to not feel hungry and he found his energy was slowly increasing as he was allowed the amount of blood he needed for his vampire half.
He liked the room, it had a large picture window that looked out onto the woods behind the clinic and main house. It was painted a light airy lavender color and had darker purple curtains hanging at the windows from a pine wooden pole.
The curtains were open and the sunlight was shining on the bed. Vash liked playing his fingers through the rays and making shadows dance across the covers.
There was a knock at the door and Vash instinctively pulled the covers up to his neck before calling out for the person to come in.
Vash watched Casey enter but as he got nearer he caught a different scent. He immediately stiffened, “Who are you? You’re not Casey!”
The man smiled, he looked just like Casey but he didn’t smell like Casey.
“No, I’m Jamie, Casey’s brother.” The man said with an easy smile.
Vash frowned, he remembered Casey mentioning a brother called Jamie, but he hadn’t said they were twins though.
Jamie held his hands out in front of him, “I don’t mean any harm. Casey asked me to check on you if I had time today. He’ll be in when his shift starts in a few more hours.”
Vash nodded and was grateful when Jamie only came near enough to sit in a chair and not near the bed.
“So, how are you feeling today? I know Craig visited earlier and I’m sure Jackson will be round later too.”
“I’m feeling better thank you, sir,” Vash answered quietly.
“Jamie, not sir. Would you rather I went? As I said Casey will be in soon.”
Vash looked at Jamie worriedly. What was the right answer? If he said he wanted the other man to leave would he be punished for offending him? Craig had told him he wouldn’t be punished here but could he trust what he was told?
Jamie sighed and rose from the chair, “If you want to talk at any time and Casey’s not around please just come find me.”
With that Jamie headed out the door and softly shut it behind him.
Vash started to panic. What if he told Casey he had been rude to his brother? What if Casey sent him back to his alpha? What if Casey was mad and decided to punish him?
Vash didn’t know how much time passed as he sat in the room he loved and didn’t want to leave.
Suddenly there was a knock at the door again, with a small cry he launched himself off the bed and huddled as tight as he could into the corner of the room.
The door flew open, “What’s happened? What’s wrong?” a voice called. It sounded like Casey but Vash refused to raise his head from his knees.
All of a sudden Casey’s comforting scent surrounded him and he couldn’t help but breathe in deeply. Arms wrapped round him but his instinct was to struggle and try to get away. A soothing voice finally started to penetrate his panicked state, “Shhh, now. Relax. It’s okay now….”
Slowly the panic receded and Vash relaxed into Casey’s arms.
Casey must have felt the change because he picked him up and took him back to the bed. But the movement and the sight of the bed sent Vash back into a panic, he pushed out of Casey’s arms and curled back into the corner.
Casey ran his fingers through his hair in frustration, something had obviously happened and he berated himself. He should have stayed in the room with Vash and not gone back to his own room to sleep.
“Jay. Did you check on Vash earlier?” he sent to his twin, hoping maybe Jamie could shed some light on the situation.
“Yes I did. But he seemed scared of me and wouldn’t answer me. I thought it better to leave him alone and I knew you would in to check him again as soon as you got up. Why what’s wrong?”
“He’s cowering in the corner and as soon as I managed to calm him he just started to panic again. Is Craig still on nights? I think he’s still treating that vampire in room 204.”
“Yep, he’s down here, I’ll send him straight up.”
Their connection broke and Casey returned his attention to Vash who was still curled in the corner.
“Vash, sweetie, can you please look at me?” Casey tried to keep his voice even and not let the panic he was starting to feel leek through.
A soft tap on the door preceded Craig’s entry to the room. He immediately crouched down beside Vash and laid a gentle hand on the shaking figure’s head. Casey saw Vash was so out of it he barely reacted to Craig’s presence, he also knew Craig would be using his power of gentle suggestion to calm the boy and find out what happened.
Casey jumped slightly as the door opened again to admit Jackson. The vampire joined Casey against the wall and laid a hand on his shoulder as though offering support.
Both Casey and Jackson looked up as Craig leaned back slightly from Vash, who had stopped shaking a bit and was looking up at them.
“Can I come closer?” Casey asked, not wanting to push too far too soon. Vash nodded and Casey found the wind knocked out of his lungs, as he got within arm’s reach and Vash threw himself at Casey.
“Jackson, I think he needs both of you,” Casey heard Craig say. He saw Jackson approaching cautiously from the corner of his eye and as the vampire got within reach he too was pulled into the surprisingly strong embrace of the still shaking boy. Casey knew Jackson had visited a few times over the last two days and the boy seemed to have taken as much of a liking to him as he had to Casey. The only other person the boy seemed to trust was Craig, but then everyone trusted Craig.
“What happened, little one?” Jackson asked quietly.
Vash’s shaking slowly eased and he looked up. “I was scared,” he said in a small voice.
“But what scared you?” Casey asked, thinking something must have happened after Jamie visited.
“I was rude to your brother,” came the whispered reply, before Vash buried his face once more in Casey’s chest.
Casey frowned as he turned over what Vash, then it hit him. Vash thought they would be angry and was scared of what the punishment would be.
“Oh, sweetie, I’m not mad if you were a bit short with Jamie. I’ve done worse than that. He doesn’t care.”
Vash lifted his head again and gave Casey a disbelieving look. He plainly thought Casey was just being nice.
“Want to see something funny?” Casey asked.
Vash frowned but nodded slowly.
Casey passed Vash into Jackson’s arms and started muttering under his breath. Meanwhile he contacted Jamie and passed along the plan.
He released his spell and a bucket appeared over the doorway to the room. As the door opened the bucket over turned and tipped water over a shocked Jamie who had just entered the room.
“Casey, that’s freezing!” Jamie exclaimed, before muttering his own spell.
Casey suddenly found himself wearing a pink dress and matching bonnet.
Casey could hear Jackson and Craig chuckling behind him and he could only hope this was having the desired effect on Vash.
Thinking fast he muttered one of his favorite spells and Jamie was then standing there in just his underwear. Before he could even grin, his clothes disappeared too and a gush of freezing water fell on his head.
“Truce. Truce,” Casey called out while laughing.
Jamie held out his hand and the brothers shook while muttering a spell together. Both of them were then dressed and dry.
Looking over at the others, Casey saw Craig was doubled over with laughter at the brothers’ show, Jackson also was chuckling and shaking his head. But the best thing was the smile that was on Vash’s face as he sat in Jackson’s arms still.
Casey thought for a moment and had an idea, he hoped he wasn’t pushing too much but he wanted to try something.
“Vash, come meet my brother properly. I’m sorry I didn’t introduce you properly before asking him to check on you. That was my fault.” Casey held out a hand.
Vash seemed to hesitate, but then he rose gracefully and moved to Casey’s side. When Casey lifted his arm, Vash cuddled under it and Casey turned to Jamie.
“Vash, this is my brother. Jamie, meet Vash, he is my guest here for the foreseeable future.”
Jamie held out his hand and Vash shook it quickly before pressing closer to Casey.
Casey leant down so his mouth was near Vash’s, “Do you trust me?” When Vash nodded Casey continued, “Well if you want to see something funny, hold on tight to me.”
Vash frowned but tightened his grip on Casey.
Casey looked at Jamie, “NOW,” he sent and grabbed Jamie’s hand, as they both muttered a spell under their breath at the same time.
The last thing Casey saw was Jackson and Craig soaking wet, in their underwear — Jackson wore boxers, Casey noticed — before he transported Jamie and Vash to his bedroom.
Casey’s first thought was Vash as they materialized. He turned and wrapped his arms around the boy and starting talking fast.
“Listen to me and listen well. Both of them will see the funny side and will probably come looking for me to get their own back, after they dry off and find their clothes — which are on your? bed if they look, along with two towels. Do. Not. Worry. They would never hurt me or anyone else. You got that?”
He waited till he felt Vash nod then he leaned back to look in his eyes.
A noise from outside said they had been found, Jackson was first through the door, quickly followed by an out-of-breath Craig. Both men were dressed but their hair was still plastered wetly to their heads.
One look at Vash’s face deflated most of Jackson’s anger.
“Casey, what were you thinking?” he demanded, approaching the trio. He bent down to get a better look at Vash’s face, but the boy just cuddled further into Casey’s side.
“Vash, are you okay?” he asked trying to draw the boy out.
After what seemed a lifetime, but was probably only a few seconds, Vash lifted his face. Jackson was relieved to see a smile on his beautiful face and to see the slight nod in answer to his question.
Jackson slowly reached out to stroke Vash’s cheek and was happy when he didn’t pull away. He had been visiting but had kept a physical distance in respect of the young one’s boundaries. He was surprised by what he sensed when he touched Vash but kept any reaction to himself.
Turning back to Casey he scowled again, “You could have seriously scared him. Why would you do that?”
Casey returned his scowl and then crossed his eyes before sticking his tongue out. Jackson was taken aback, “What are you, thirteen again?” he said rolling his eyes at the childish behavior.
He froze at a sound he never thought he would hear, he looked at Vash and saw the boy still curled into Casey’s side but he was giggling softly.
Casey rubbed Vash’s shoulder, then turned to answer Jackson, “That is why I did everything,” he stated. Then he smiled sadly, “From what we’ve heard so far, Vash here has missed out on a childhood. I thought I’d show him a few things he’s missed. Playing jokes is fun, especially on you. You were always easy to rile up and so much fun to see explode. I seem to remember the first time I called you Jackie. I thought you were going to have a heart attack.”
Jackson had to smile at the memory, he had been telling Casey off for something he couldn’t even remember now, he had just been getting into a good lecture when Casey had just come out with, “Now calm down Jackie,” he had frozen for a second and then he had hit the roof. At the time he thought it was the highest insult, he was a Senior Elder and a two-thousand-year-old vampire. He should command respect and here was a boy not even grown telling him to calm down and calling him by a woman’s name.
Casey had taken every opportunity to call him by that name since that day and he was so used to it, he just scowled now and let it go.
Casey was counting himself lucky to have got away with the joke this far, he didn’t want to push his luck so he decided to change the subject.
“Hey, I have been doing some research and I wanted to talk to you all about an idea.” He turned to his brother, “You staying bro? Or are you heading back to the clinic?”
“Sorry, I’d love to stay but I have paperwork with our name on it. Seeing as you’re busy, I guess that means my name is top!” He sauntered off waving over his shoulder as he passed Craig in the doorway where he’d been watching all the interactions with seeming amusement.
“Hey Craig, come right in. I have a small sitting area or we can head back to the main room.” Casey looked at Vash and waited to hear if you would give an opinion.
Vash smiled and spoke quietly, “I like it here. It smells like you.” He finished quickly and buried his face again. Jackson was watching them with an assessing gaze and Casey waited for him to say something, but his expression went back to his normal mask. After a few moments Casey just pushed his curiosity aside, he could deal with it later.
Casey grinned, “Okay, let’s sit down then.” He led them all over to his sitting area, it consisted of two couches and a coffee table. He drew Vash down onto one couch with him and left the other for Jackson and Craig. This earned him another intense look from Jackson, what was the man’s problem?
After everyone was seated he used a summoning spell to fetch himself and Craig some tea and a glass of blood each for Jackson and Vash.
Vash gulped down his drink as though he thought someone was going to snatch it away any second. Casey had tried to get him to slow down but he had given up and just hoped the boy would relax soon. Jackson in the other hand took a sip and frowned.
“This is your blood,” he said to Casey, his tone almost sounded accusing.
Casey shrugged, “It probably is, I’m one of the blood donors for the clinic, just like Jamie and most of the staff are. Why does it matter?” When Jackson didn’t answer Casey just shrugged again and turned slightly so he could address them all, “As I was saying I have been doing some research, mainly into shifters as I have already done extensive research into vampires. I found out that when a shifter changes for the first time they merge with their animal’s conscience, effectively making a new person. The animal and human side balance each other. If one can’t be accessed for any reason it can cause the person to feel lost and very alone.” He turned to look directly at Vash, “I believe if I removed your collar and you’re allowed to shift, you may find that merging with your animal helps with your healing. I also believe you’ll find shifting for the first time will have other effects, but they will depend on your vampire DNA.”
Vash was looking up at him but he couldn’t tell what the boy was feeling.
Vash’s mind was whirling, he was still trying to process the show Casey had put on playing with Jamie. Now he had to think about what Casey was telling him, if he connected with his animal he could be stronger.
It didn’t take long for him to make up his mind and he hoped what he said was the answer Casey wanted to hear, he only wanted to please the man and he was on edge not knowing how to do that all the time.
Looking up at Casey he said, “Please sir, I would like the opportunity to meet my animal.”
Casey beamed at him and he felt a warm relief go through him as his answer didn’t bring any punishment. He hadn’t been punished at all since arriving in this place, but he didn’t feel able to let his guard down. His alpha had been good to him sometimes, he would just get used to it and then his alpha would revert back to beating him. He had learned not to get his hopes up. But he had to admit, if only to himself, that his hopes were slowly rising. He couldn’t do anything to stop the feeling, and that scared him more than anything.
He realized Casey was speaking again and he turned his attention back the conversation.
“…think we should use the enclosed yard off my side of the main house. The fence is over six foot tall and there is only one entrance, therefore we shouldn’t be disturbed.”
Jackson was nodding and so was Craig.
“I think it should only be me and Casey there, unless you want Craig there too, Vash?” Jackson said turning to look at Vash.
Vash thought about it, he trusted Casey and Jackson — he didn’t know why but he did — he didn’t really trust Craig as he knew the man could get inside his brain, and his mind had been the only place he could escape to back in his basement room. He didn’t like having that special place intruded on. Finally he spoke in a low, hesitant voice.
“I would prefer just Casey and Jackson… If that’s okay?” he questioned at the end, just in case it wasn’t the answer they wanted.
Craig was already nodding, “Just let me know how it goes and I’ll catch up with each of you tomorrow some time. In the meantime I am going to go and remind my husband what I look like.”
With a cheery wave the psychic headed for the door and closed it softly behind him.
Casey looked at the others as they stood looking round his back yard. He hoped whatever Vash shifted into didn’t like destroying his flowers, he had worked hard in his spare time to make this yard a place he could escape to and relax in. No one but Jamie had ever been here before, but he was now berating himself slightly as he had never thought it could have been a good retreat for Vash in the last few days where he could get some fresh air. He would make sure Vash knew how to get to the garden whenever he wanted.
Jackson seemed to be looking round in awe, “Who designed this for you?” he asked.
“Jamie and I designed it. Or rather I told Jamie what I wanted and he drew it for me. I did most of the work with a bit of help from a few gardeners in the community.”
Jackson just shook his head and went back to looking around. Casey turned to watch Vash and tried to decipher what he was thinking. He seemed to be calm but he had to be nervous and maybe a little excited.
“Vash, are you ready for this?” Casey asked.
Vash looked at him and nodded.
“Okay, come stand in front of me. Jackson, I want you to stand behind him, just in case he falls. But if I tell you to move, do it quickly.” Both men nodded and stood where Casey indicated.
Casey placed his hands on either side of the collar surrounding Vash’s neck, he then closed his eyes and concentrated.
Vash felt Casey’s magic flowing over him, he heard a snap and felt the collar falling away from his neck.
Immediately he felt a presence in his mind, it rubbed up against his own and slowly melded itself with him. He felt a deep sense of rightness and for the first time in his life he felt whole.
His body started to change and he fell onto all fours as he felt his clothes ripping — he had the fleeting thought he maybe should have taken off his clothes first. What seemed to take hours probably only took minutes, eventually he was looking at everything through crystal-clear vision.
Raising his head he sniffed the air and smelt the most wonderful smells, he could smell all the flowers and the grass. He could also smell the familiar scents of Jackson and Casey, but now they were much stronger and he moved first toward Casey.
He only came up to Casey’s thighs, his animal spirit encouraged him to rub round Casey’s legs and he was pleasantly surprised to feel Casey’s hand stroking along his head and back.
After a few minutes of stroking Vash slowly moved away from Casey, his animal was telling him not move too fast and he wasn’t going to argue. He moved over to Jackson and repeated his performance of rubbing around his legs. It took a while but Jackson finally took the hint and started to run his fingers through Vash’s fur.
He could hear Jackson and Casey talking but he ignored them, he was enjoying himself too much and his animal was reassuring him he was doing the right thing.
Out the corner of his eye he saw Casey approach Jackson as they were still talking, on a whim Vash dropped to his belly and rolled over on to his back. He let out a small whine. He kept it up till he had both men dropping to tickle him and stroke him, then he started purring to show his appreciation.
He opened his eyes when he felt a gentle tug on his ear, he looked up in to Casey’s face and concentrated when he realized he was speaking to him.
“Turn back, please Vash,” Casey was saying.
Vash whined a bit but did as he was told. He asked his animal and was shown how to concentrate inward to return to his human form.
Without thought he threw his arms round Casey’s neck as soon as he was fully human, “Thank you sir. That was wonderful,” he said in to Casey’s shoulder.
Casey patted his shoulder and he felt a blanket being put round his shoulders, reminding him he was naked. Blushing profusely he pulled the blanket tighter and dropped his eyes to the floor.
Casey tipped his face back up to meet his face, “I’m glad you enjoyed it, little one. Now let’s get you back to your room so I can make sure you’re physically okay still. Do you even know what sort of animal you shifted into?”
Vash frowned, “I was purring so it must be a type of cat, but I’m not sure on what type.”
Jackson spoke this time, “You shifted into a lion. It is one of the most intelligent of the shifter animals and one of the strongest.”
Vash stared in shock at the two men.
Him, intelligent and strong?