More new mates???
Jackson followed Vash as the lion bounded out of the room. He didn’t try to distract Vash from his path but Jackson did have to open a few doors that paws just couldn’t cope with. It didn’t take long for Jackson to realize they were heading in the direction of the children’s room.
He quickly put on his vampire speed and burst into the room with his fangs out. Vash wasn’t far behind him growling and snarling.
The scene that met them almost made Jackson’s heart stop. Casey was on the floor, covered in blood and with a snarling cougar standing over him.
There was another cougar dead or unconscious on the floor and a man in human form was backing away from the door with yet another snarling cougar next to him.
A roar echoed in the room as Vash rushed in and barrelled straight into the cougar standing over Casey. One swift move and he had torn the animal’s throat out and was turning to snarl at the remaining cougar and who must have been the witch Gerald.
The cougar turned into a man and both men cowered together against a nearby wall, shifting may have saved his life Jackson thought as the lion paused and just kept the two men pinned. No witch, psychic or shifter was a match against an angry lion.
Adam and Andrew were the next to come rushing into the room with Jamie and Ben close behind.
Jamie went straight to Casey, while Ben headed for the children who had all climbed into the baby’s cot and seemed to have been shocked into silence. Ben scooped up the two youngest and had Elizabeth climb onto his shoulders before he headed back out the room.
Adam headed for the men Vash had pinned but Vash growled until he backed off again.
Andrew came toward Jackson, moving slowly and carefully. Jackson felt like he was on the outside watching everything happen to someone else. He knew Andrew was talking and soon Adam’s voice joined in as well but then another voice broke through to him…
“Jackson, snap out of it. Casey needs you,” Jamie’s voice snapped.
Jackson hadn’t even felt Andrew tugging on his arm trying to get his attention. He quickly sped over to Jamie and fell to his knees.
“I can’t heal him, the damage to his heart is too big. I’ve slowed the bleeding down but he only has minutes left. I need you to tell me you can help him, I can’t lose my brother. He is still your mate too, you have to do something.” Jamie was begging though the tears that were starting to stream down his face. Vash was whining but he didn’t move from the men he had pinned, it seemed everyone was waiting to see what Jackson would do.
Jackson looked at Casey, he was covered in claw marks across his neck and arms. But the worst was a huge open gash right over his heart. It was only bleeding sluggishly but Jackson could see right into Casey’s chest and to his slowly beating heart.
Turning to Jamie he asked, “Can you make him swallow?”
Jamie nodded so Jackson brought his own wrist to his mouth, biting down till he hit bone. He moved his wrist to Casey’s mouth. Jamie muttered a few words and Casey gasped into consciousness. Jackson quickly made sure as much blood entered Casey’s mouth as possible, he then closed Casey’s mouth and held it until Casey swallowed. He then repeated the action twice more until he was satisfied Casey had taken enough.
Casey went still and then the convulsions started.
“Hold him down!” Jackson shouted.
Andrew and Adam used their vampire strength to hold Casey by his shoulders and ankles. Jamie practically babbled a spell and Casey went rigid as a board. The claw marks were already healing over and the gash was sealing itself from the inside out.
“Okay, you can let go,” Jamie said, pushing at everyone until they moved. “He’s going nowhere until I release that spell.”
Knowing Casey was going to be alright for now as the change took hold, Jackson turned his attention to the strangers in the room. Vash still had the men pinned up against the wall.
“Who are you?” Jackson demanded of the two men, he didn’t care who answered but someone was going to, or suffer his anger.
Both men took no notice of him and continued to cower away from Vash. Rolling his eyes Jackson turned to the lion.
“Vash, can you understand me?” When he got a tail swish in acknowledgement he continued, “Well, just outside this room is a closet, you’ll find spare clothes in there. Why don’t you go change and then you’ll be able to help me question these people.”
Vash turned with a final roar and padded out the room. Both men’s gazes were following the lion as though they thought he was going to turn and attack them.
“Now just who are you and how are you related to Vash’s old pack?” Jackson asked.
The cougar turned man stepped forward. “I’m Beta Horace,” he said with a slight bow, “The witch with me is Gerald and the dead cougars are Remy and Jerry. We were sent by Alpha Jefferson to retrieve his adopted son. Since you just called that lion Vash, I am assuming he is who we were looking for.”
“Vash belongs to this community now. And as he is past the age of majority by shifter laws, your Alpha has no claim on him. On the other hand he has a cause of action against you. You both just attacked and mortally injured his claimed mate. Now, in this community that is a crime punishable by death.”
Both men had gone pale while Jackson was talking and Vash chose that moment to rejoin them.
“If you’re here to take me back, why did you attack a defenseless man in a children’s bedroom?” Vash demanded. Jackson could see his lion in Vash’s eyes and knew the little shifter was drawing on its strength.
Horace shrank back from the anger radiating off Vash. “We scented you. The scent led us here. When we got in here we found him, but he killed Remy before I could stop anything happening. I had to defend Gerald. But Jerry went straight for the man again.”
Jackson broke in before Vash could get any angrier, the boy may be small in human form but if he was angry enough there was no telling what he would do — or more precisely what his lion could take over and kill, if given the chance — and Jackson wanted to get more information first.
“Right, you two are going to go with Elder Rickman and tell him everything. You’re going to give him a detailed layout of your camp, tell him what the number of guards are and what their routines are. You will then be sent to the High Council for trial. Is all that understood? Because if not I’ll just turn you over to Vash here and let his lion decide your fate.”
Both men spoke over one another to say they would go wherever they had to and Adam came over to collect them.
Jackson had Jamie remove the restraining spell and scooped up Casey, holding him tight so he couldn’t hurt himself. He called for Vash to follow him to Casey’s bedroom and headed out the room.
Once in the room he laid Casey on the couch and held him still as the convulsions ran their course.
“He’ll be fine,” he reassured Vash, who was hovering worriedly nearby.
“You do know I can sense you’re lying, don’t you?” Vash snapped, causing Jackson to look up in surprise.
“What do you mean you can sense I’m lying?”
“I mean that when I bonded with Casey I seem to have absorbed some of his magical abilities. I can sense strong emotions from the people around me. Including the fact you’re not sure if he will survive the change.”
Jackson tried to think of something to say but Vash wasn’t finished.
“You do know what will happen if Casey dies now he’s my bonded mate, don’t you?”
Jackson thought for a moment, then he realized what Vash meant and his stomach fell.
“If a shifter loses their bonded mate, the shifter will usually go feral and end up going mad or killing themselves.” Jackson said, remembering a book he had read at the High Council offices.
He felt his body go cold, he couldn’t let anything happen to either of his mates, frantically he thought back through the information he knew about shifters.
As he was still thinking they both turned at a noise from Casey, the convulsions had stopped and his eyes were open.
“Thirsty.” Casey’s sounded like he hadn’t drunk anything in days.
“I’ll get something for him,” Vash said. But Jackson grabbed him before he could move.
“He needs blood not anything else.”
Jackson nipped his wrist again and held it out to Casey but the witch turned his face away, shocking Jackson. The pull to drink should have been strong enough that Casey should have bitten into the first living thing that got near him.
Casey’s gaze moved to Vash and his expression became pleading, “Thirsty,” he said again.
Vash seemed to understand and moved so he could place his arm near Casey’s face, but as he neared Casey grabbed him and pulled him nearer. Instead of biting Vash’s wrist he sank his new fangs in to Vash’s neck.
Vash’s first reaction was panic but then the feeling of Casey’s new fangs sliding into his neck sent thrills right through him. Letting out a moan he had to struggle to concentrate, when he started to feel dizzy he reached out through their link.
“Casey, let me go. You’re going to hurt me.” He repeated it twice, the second time much firmer, and felt Casey stiffen before gently removing his fangs.
Vash felt himself being softly placed on the floor beside the couch before Casey jumped up and moved to the other side of the room.
“What happened? How did I get here? Why was I hurting you?” Casey was babbling questions so fast Vash could barely distinguish between them.
“Casey, calm down now!” Vash startled as he heard the loud firm voice in his mind. It took him a moment to realize it had been Jackson’s voice.
He watched the vampire approach Casey slowly but Casey kept moving away from him, he could feel the confusion coming from Casey and also from Jackson.
Making a decision Vash did something he never thought he would ever do, he took charge.
Standing up he raised his voice to get their attention, “Stop moving both of you.”
Both men stopped and looked at him in shock.
“Casey, get back on the couch now, you have five seconds or I will carry you there and I won’t be gentle.”
Casey cautiously got up from the floor watching Jackson as he moved back to the couch and sat down.
“Jackson, you get on the other couch and then you can start explaining. I know you’re now bound to Casey and through him to me,” Jackson went to interrupt, but Vash glared at him — he felt he could get used to being in charge —, “I heard you through our mind-link. Therefore you’re now bound to both of us. If you ever pull your head out of your ass maybe you and I can bond properly but until then…”
If the situation hadn’t been so serious Vash would’ve laughed at the expression on Jackson’s face, the vampire looked like Vash had slapped him round the face.
“I-I-I” Jackson stammered, before taking a deep breath, “I know I am now bound to Casey. I don’t know enough about shifters to say how far Vash and I are bound, I know even less about tri-matings, as there have been so few. As for explaining,” Jackson turned to Casey, who was watching with a wary look in his eyes. “Casey, do you remember being attacked in the children’s room?” Casey nodded, “Good. Well, you killed one cougar but the other managed to mortally wound you. Jamie couldn’t heal you but I could. By giving you my blood, I forced you through the change and made you into a half vampire. Your magic protected you from a full change — that much I can tell through the link we now have. I know you’ve spoke to Thane and know how he copes being half vampire and half witch, you will need to do the same. To start off with you’ll need more blood to regulate your system, but after a while you should be able to get by on about a glass a day. Or of course you can find a willing donor.”
“He already has one,” Vash growled, he didn’t like the idea of Casey drinking from anyone else.
Jackson nodded, “You’ll probably be sleepy for a while but you should be fine. If you need anything else, just call me.”
So saying Jackson rose and headed toward the door, Vash was shocked.
“You’re just going to walk out? Right now? Your newly bonded mate is sitting right here and you’re going to run away?”
Jackson spun round and Vash shrank back, his new-found courage leaving him in a rush.
“I am not running away. I am leaving because my presence seems to be affecting Casey. I have loved him since he was born, I would stay if I thought he wanted me but he has you now.” He turned back toward the door, “As I said, call if he needs me.”
“What if I need you?” Vash thought but didn’t say.
Vash so wanted to thump the stupid vampire as hard as he could, but he knew Jackson needed to come to them in his own time. He didn’t know why the vampire was still running away but he was sure he would work it out with Casey soon.
As for Casey’s behavior, well, he would have to ask him. But when he turned his head he found Casey trying valiantly to keep his eyes open, with a sigh he scooped up his new mate and headed for the bed.
What a night…