How vampires began…
“How did you not sense or hear him?” Horace snarled at Jerry, looking down at the dead man at their feet.
“I don’t know,” Jerry whined. “He just appeared out of nowhere.”
Horace harrumphed, “This man is a vampire not a witch. Therefore he can’t have just appeared. Either you were asleep or you just weren’t paying attention. Either way, if it happens again it will be your last mistake.”
The threat in his voice was clear and Jerry dropped his gaze and tipped his throat to show his submission to his beta.
Horace shook his head, the vampire was dressed as a farmer, and he probably owned — or worked on — the land.
They would have to move fast now, the Community Council had no reason to suspect the pack of the guard’s death because he knew Gerald had covered their scent. But with a second death any investigation would be stepped up.
“Remy,” Horace called, waiting for the other beta to come to the front of the group, “Take us straight to the clinic, now.”
Casey watched as Jackson sat with Vash still in his lap, the vampire had helped Vash dress and then insisted on keeping him in his lap so he wouldn’t get scared again.
This annoyed Casey and so he sent a message to Vash, “Little one, please ask Jackson nicely if he can give you back to me now we’re all siting down.”
Casey saw Vash lean up and whisper in Jackson’s ear before Jackson nodded and reluctantly let Vash up to go over to Casey.
Vash curled up on Casey’s lap and Casey felt more at ease cuddling the slim frame of him new mate, Vash belonged with him now. He pulled a blanket from the back of the couch and tucked it round himself and Vash.
“Right first, Craig, I think you’re a bit out of the loop.” Casey said and then proceeded to fill Craig in on everything that had happened, including his argument with Jackson. He could feel the anger coming from Jackson and now he knew more about the mating pull he realized why. Jackson had taken his blood, first to heal and then when he visited the clinic and had a glass of blood. This had started to form the bond. It would fade over time for Casey — he hoped, especially now he had another mate —, as long as Jackson didn’t take any more of Casey’s blood and of course Casey had no reason to take any of Jackson’s to complete the blood bond. Casey mentally shook his head, why hadn’t he remembered about the partial bonds? Why hadn’t he known about the mating pull? And most importantly why was Jackson denying their bond? He must know about the mating pull, and he must know neither of them would be able to move on. At least in Jackson’s case, Casey may be able to move on but he would always feel a part of him was missing.
“Finally I need to tell you all what happened in the garden. As I’ve already said Vash pulled me out there and we started playing a game of chase. Vash says his lion wanted to stop me feeling sad. What I hadn’t realized was the longer the game went on the more Vash’s lion was taking over. When I was distracted for a moment it took the opportunity to take down what it saw as its prey. Then when it scented me it realized something Vash and I hadn’t, I’m Vash’s mate and his lion has claimed me as such. When he bit me he injected me with his mating serum. I’m marked by him and linked now to Vash.”
“NO!” Jackson shouted but Casey ignored him and continued.
“I questioned Vash through our new mind-link and found out that not only am I his mate but we are both Jackson’s mates.”
As a group Casey, Jamie and Craig turned their attention to Jackson. Vash still had his face buried in Casey’s chest, but Casey could sense he was listening to everything and trying his best to process all the events that had happened.
“This can’t be happening,” Jackson was muttering to himself, “I can’t take a mate, let alone two. It’s too dangerous. There’s too much that could go wrong…”
“What do you mean it’s too dangerous? And that things could go wrong?” Casey asked, this was different from what Jackson had said earlier. He now realized that if he’d been paying attention he would have sensed Jackson was lying. But what Jackson said in his office had echoed what Casey had been thinking all those years and hearing it all said out loud had wounded him deep in his heart. He never thought to question anything he was being told, because he already believed it.
Jackson had sunk down next to Casey and Vash on the couch. Casey felt Vash moving and then he watched as Vash changed position so he was sitting on Casey’s lap with his legs draped over Jackson. Jackson was absently stroking Vash’s leg, even burrowing his fingers under the loose pant legs to get to bare skin, the position meant he couldn’t reach Casey and Casey wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not.
Casey had to smile when he heard a low purring coming from Vash. He pulled his attention back to the conversation when he heard Jackson start talking.
“What I’m about to tell you must not be spoken about to anyone else. Craig and Jamie, I know you will both tell your mates, you’re both too linked to them not to, but they must also have it impressed on them that this must not get out.” Jamie and Craig both nodded seriously.
“As you all know I am a High Council Elder and am over two thousand years old. What people don’t know is that the other vampire High Council member, Terrance Smidge, and I are also the original vampires.” There was a collective gasp but Jackson just kept talking, it seemed the dam had been broken down and he needed to get it all out, he just stared off into space as though he was lost in his memory and no one else was there.
“Vampires and shifters didn’t evolve from humans as is the generally held belief. We were the result of some rather nasty experiments. Two thousand years ago there was ancient civilization, they didn’t have a name but they were more advanced than the humans of that time. They lived in a closed community and didn’t allow anyone in or out. From the outside the community looked just like a huge palace — for want of a better word — but inside was much bigger, as it extended underground and out under other settlements.
“I was living in a poor nearby village and people came round asking for volunteers. They said they were trying to find a cure for a disease that was sweeping through the settlements. We had already lost ten people and the chance there may be a cure found was too good an opportunity to pass up. We were told it was safe and volunteers would be heroes when the cure was found.
“We were strapped to tables and injected with what we were told was the disease, they would then test our blood and make a cure. But they lied — obviously — I and a few others were injected with a substance named V4M91R3, that’s where the name vampire started. Similarly others were injected with a serum named 5H1FT3R, hence the name shifter.
“Terrance and I were the only survivors from the vampire group, the others didn’t survive the change from human. We had grown fangs and claws, but no other changes were apparent yet. When we woke we were very hungry but everything they gave us made us sick. Then one of the labbies cut themselves on my fangs as they were feeding me one time, being handfed was humiliating but they wouldn’t release us until they knew all our capabilities. The taste of the blood gave me unimaginable strength. I broke the straps holding me down and grabbed the labbie. Within minutes I had drained the human and tossed him to one side. I freed Terrance, who had seen the whole thing and allowed him to feed from me — just enough to give him the strength he needed to move. He was the only friend I had and I wanted to make sure he got free as well. As we were making our way out we passed some cages. There were five each with a different pair of animals in it. We didn’t even think, we freed the animals and followed them as they headed toward the exit.
“Several guards tried to stop us but the animals tore them to shreds before they could raise an alarm. Once we were outside I was shocked when one of the animals turned into a man. He bowed to me as was our way to show respect, he told me how each set of animals were in fact men and women. There were wolves, cougars, lions, panthers and bears. He thanked me for saving them and we agreed we needed to leave the community.
“We headed slowly toward the nearest community exit, luckily we hadn’t been blindfolded or anything when we’d arrived. Terrance decided to take out the guards on duty by knocking them out with a length of wood. He said he didn’t want to kill innocent people. The men and women at the lab had known what they were doing but these people – we hoped – had no idea.
“Once we all escaped we split up and went our separate ways. Terrance and I spent months hiding, only coming out to feed. It was by accident we found out we could make more of our kind. I was feeding and the man I was feeding from bit me to try and get away. I healed immediately but he started convulsing. We took him back to our hiding place and after about half an hour the convulsions stopped and we watched in horror as his fingers turned to claws and fangs grew in his mouth.
“He woke up an hour after his transformation and was ravenously hungry. Terrance went out and found a human for him. He said it was someone he had caught trying to hurt someone else. Once our newest member was fed we told him everything he needed to know. But we didn’t tell him how we had become vampires. We told him it was a natural poison or some such that we’d come into contact with and he bought it. It actually became vampire history that we are a natural evolution of humans after a natural disaster in ancient history.
“Life went on and Terrance and I only turned a few people. The surprise came when we found out the people we turned couldn’t turn anyone else. Then one of the man we’d turned found his mate. He met a woman and as soon as he touched her he wouldn’t let her go. We helped him woo her and tried to make up an explanation for her as to what we were. They mated and had two children — their children were vampires too. Vampires breed true when mating with pure humans. And so things went on.
“Terrance and I were around when psychic abilities developed in the human race and then the witches came along — I never have found out how they started.
“Then the humans started shunning anyone who was different and we all got blamed for everything little thing that went wrong. From cattle dying to crops failing.
“I met up with a lady psychic and we had the idea of a place away from humans that could be protected. She contacted the witches and Terrance and I contacted the shifters. Two representatives from each group met and we decided on an island.
“The rest you probably know. We found this island and the witches placed protection around it and the High Council was set up. Terrance and I are the only ones left now of the original settlers.”
When Jackson stopped talking there was complete silence. Jamie was the first to break it.
“But I don’t understand what all that has to do with you, Casey and Vash?”
Casey was already shaking his head, he had realized what his twin hadn’t.
“Jay, if Vash and I blood bond with Jackson I would most likely be turned. I would essentially become a hybrid like Thane. Since Vash is already part vampire I’m not sure what effect a bonding would have on him.”
Jackson turned to face him, “Now you see why we can’t bond? I can’t force a turning on you. It would ruin your life.”
Casey gently laid Vash on the couch, using their mind link to reassure him.
He then stepped up to Jackson and laid a hand on his cheek, he waited for Jackson to lean into the touch before bringing his hand back and slapping him as hard as he could.
The sound reverberated around the room and Jackson stared at Casey in shock.
“What the hell was that for?” He yelled, and then regretted it when he heard a whimper coming from the couch.
“That,” Casey spat at him, “was for thinking you knew what was best for me and later for Vash without even asking us or giving us a choice. What happened to the speech you gave me earlier about always respecting me and giving me a choice in what happens to me?”
Jackson winced, he had said that and he had meant it. But this was different. This would be a lifetime decision.
“I couldn’t ask you to give up your life for me. Don’t you understand, you would need to drink blood to survive? You would never have the chance at children, the change would ensure that. My DNA is not the same as say Andrew’s, his changed Jamie so he could bear children, mine wouldn’t do that. Terrance and I don’t have that ability and no one could work out why the turned ones did. Female mates — vampire and non-vampire — can already have children with their male mates, and blood bonded non-vampire male mates have a chance of being changed to be able to have children. Bonding with me would…”
He was interrupted by Casey shouting, “You arrogant asshole. I’m a gay man you idiot, I gave up the idea of children as soon as I realized that fact. As for drinking blood, I’ve grown up with vampires, why would drinking blood worry me?”
Jackson was starting to wonder if he was making a mistake. Then he looked at the couch and saw Vash watching the whole exchange.
“You have a mate now. You don’t need me too. Now if….”
Casey didn’t let him finish what he was saying.
“You were there when Thane told us his story. Vash and I will never feel complete and you’ll be the reason. You’re willing to…” Casey stopped and appeared to be concentrating. Jackson turned to Jamie and saw he was paying attention to something else too. He then looked at Vash and saw the boy’s wide eyes.
“Dead body, out by Foster’s fields, in an abandoned barn. The guards found him when they did their rounds in that area. Andrew got the message and just told Jamie and me — and of course now Vash too,” Casey’s voice was devoid of all emotion but he had gone over to Vash and was obviously speaking to him even, though their lips weren’t moving. Jackson felt very left out at that moment and he knew it was all his own fault.
“I’m going with you,” Vash’s voice brought him back to the conversation.
“Vash, you’ve never left the main house, other than going to the garden,” Jamie was saying out loud. He had obviously given up on non-verbal. “How will you deal with getting there and all the people?”
Casey answered, “I can get us all there, and I think he will deal fine. If not I’ll bring him back. Bro, you have to let him make his own decisions, he is an adult.” Casey was looking at Jackson while he spoke.
Jackson winced, he was now feeling rather less certain of things he thought were a foregone conclusion.
“Take a deep breath and just hold onto me,” Casey told Vash, holding the young man’s hand. Then out loud he said, “Everyone join hands.”
Jackson moved quickly and took Casey’s free hand before Jamie could get there. Casey did his best to ignore the thrill that ran up his arm from the feel of Jackson’s skin on his.
“I know what you’re feeling you know!” Vash’s voice laughed silently, Jamie snickered in his mind too. Casey was glad Andrew must have his shields up or he would have been hearing the conversation too “We need to teach you to only project to the person you want to hear you, and you can shut up bro,” Casey replied to both of them, then to only Vash, “When we get back I’ll help you. We’ll also talk about everything that’s happened.”
Taking a deep breath he concentrated on his destination and pulled his magic around them all.
As soon as they appeared near the abandoned barn Casey started taking in the scene. He didn’t let go of Vash’s hand but took him with him to walk around the perimeter of the barn. Jamie had headed straight for the body.
Vash pulled on his hand, “I need to shift,” he said.
Casey frowned at him, “What’s wrong?”
Vash shook his head, “My lion is trying to tell me something but our minds are still too new to each other. In my lion form we can communicate better.”
Casey nodded, muttering a spell he stripped Vash to his boxers and let go of Vash’s hand. As the young man started to glow Casey moved a bit further away — that lion was massive, he didn’t want to get squashed.
The glow disappeared and Vash’s lion sat watching Casey with interest, the boxers were in pieces on the ground. Before Casey could react the lion had jumped and knocked him over landing with its paws on his chest.
“Do you have to do that?” Casey sent, trying to get his breath back.
Vash just chuffed and promptly licked Casey from chin to forehead.
“Ewww.” Casey wiped his face with his hand as Vash stood over him with his tongue hanging out, obviously laughing. Casey decided a bit of pay back was needed. Concentrating he disappeared and reappeared behind Vash.
Vash spun round, dropping his head he let out a low meow, he sounded just like a mewling kitten. Casey gave up and reached to scratch him behind the ears, this caused a low purring and made Casey giggle.
Casey found his hand empty suddenly when Vash turned his head to look directly at him, “I know what he was trying to tell me know. The scent round here is from a member of my pack. More specifically Gerald the pack witch. I remember hearing a conversation when one of my visitors thought I was asleep. He was talking about how Gerald could cover scents with magic. He obviously can’t cover his own scent though, I would know that scent anywhere, he was regular visitor.”
“We need to tell the others. Jamie probably heard but where did Jackson go, he needs to know?” Casey sent, trying to keep his temper in check but vowing he would ensure the witch regretted anything he had ever done to Vash.
Vash tipped his head from side to side, “I’ve found him. Go to Jamie and I’ll bring him over.”
Casey watch Vash pad away and was proud of how well the shifter was dealing with being out in the open with so many people around. But he supposed being in his lion form must help, that cat was huge.
“Hey bro,” Casey called, as he approached the body.
Jamie looked up, “This is a mess, Case. The cause of death is the same as the last one and I heard what Vash said, so at least that explains the trace of magic and the lack of scent.”
The sound of shouting got both brothers attention. They turned to see Vash dragging Jackson along by his sleeve. Vash’s jaws were clamped tight and Jackson was trying to tell him to let go and he would follow.
Casey couldn’t help it he doubled over laughing; he knew people probably thought he was crazy. Standing over a dead body and laughing wasn’t the mark of a sane man. But the image of the big bad vampire being dragged along by a growling lion was going stay with him for a while.
“What is so important?” Jackson huffed when Vash finally dragged him up to the laughing witches.
Casey instantly sobered and repeated what Vash had told him.
“What else can this Gerald do? And what does he look like?” Jackson demanded looking at Vash.
Vash turned to Casey, “Gerald is at least fifty year’s old, gray short hair, about six foot tall and podgy.” As he sent the information to Casey — and Jamie — he also sent a picture of the man in question.
Jamie wrinkled his nose, “Not the best looking guy,” he said and Vash chuffed.
“If you three have finished your private conversation can someone please answer my question?” Jackson sounded like a scolding parent and Casey scowled at him.
“Will this do, Dad?” Casey made his tone as sarcastic as possible and then held his hands out in front of himself. Jamie clasped his hands and together they muttered a spell that had a 3D image of Gerald appearing between their outstretched arms.
“Harry, bring your camera over here,” Jackson called.
Harry came running up and when he saw the floating picture he quickly started snapping away.
“Get this picture circulated to all the guards and then start on all the community businesses,” Jackson told him when he’d finished.
Harry nodded before hurrying away.
“There’s nothing else we can do here,” Casey said dropping the spell. “Vash, stay as you are and I’ll transport us back.” He turned to Jackson, “You’re coming with us. We three need to talk privately, now.”
Jackson looked like he was going to argue but he nodded and Casey reached a hand out for him to take. He then laid his free hand on Vash’s mane before taking them all home.
Jackson took a deep breath as they all appeared in the main room again, he would never get used to that mode of transport.
“Make yourselves comfy,” Casey said dropping his hand, “I’ve got to check on the kids. Jamie, Andrew, Adam and Ben are going to be busy for a while.”
Jackson was left looking at Vash still in his lion form as Casey left the room.
The lion’s gaze was unnerving and Jackson was just casting about for something to say when Vash roared and an alarm started ringing through the house.