The Enforcer

by M. A. Naess

illustrated by Rowan Lewgalon

[This story was first published in the anthology Night Moves, by Aspen Mountain Press]

The Enforcer - Shane by Rowan LewgalonThe night was dark and Mikhail little more than a shadow as he slipped past the bouncers at the nightclub.  He’d been here several nights now, making his quiet entrance, usually unnoticed by the drinkers and the dancers unless he wanted them to notice him.  He scanned the dance floor and was pleased to see the boy who had caught his attention before.  He gyrated in the middle of the crowd, lost in the rhythm of the music.

Mikhail first saw him several nights ago and had been instantly attracted to the energy and life that flowed in waves from the young man.  Gradually he had worked his way into the group of hangers-on who vied for the boy’s attention.  Eventually, after much conniving, he elicited from the boy his name – Shane – and a casual “Yeah, you should drop in and see me some time.”  Then Mikhail had followed him home, noted his habits, and checked out the apartment for access.  Now he was biding his time before once more taking the young man up on his indiscreet offer.

Content at the moment to watch silently from the bar, Mikhail waited patiently, nursing his wine.  The hour was late already and he knew it wouldn’t be too long before the boy left, hopefully alone, to return to his apartment.

Finally, Mikhail’s patience was rewarded.  Shane gave a casual wave to several of his fellow dancers and made his way out of the nightclub.  Mikhail watched him weave his way among the remaining crowd to the exit and disappear.  He knew where Shane lived and the boy had left alone; he could wait before following.

A little over half an hour later Mikhail put his drink down and left.  The nightclub was nearly empty.

From a small, partly hidden alcove on the other side of the dance floor, another pair of eyes had been watching the boy.  No less drawn to the life force emanating from him, but less hypnotized by it, they had taken in more, had seen Mikhail watching him.  Not long after he disappeared into fading strobe lights, this other watcher detached itself from the alcove and followed.

The walk home and cool night air had dried the sweat of the dance on Shane’s body and by the time he arrived at his apartment he felt grimy and caked with salt.  He debated whether to shower.  Yawning, he decided he’d make do with a quick wash and reset the alarm for half an hour earlier so he’d have time for a shower in the morning.  Something else about the clock and the alarm nudged at him, but he was too tired and whatever it was remained elusive.  Never mind, it couldn’t have been too important, he’d remember tomorrow.

Standing in front of the dresser, he yawned again and stared at his reflection as he unbuttoned his shirt. He leaned forward a little, running his fingers up through his hair, watching as the blond strands fell over his hand.  He’d better get a haircut soon. Turning slightly he studied his upper body, patting his stomach.  Still trim, despite the junk food he consumed on a regular basis.  Throwing the shirt in a heap on the floor he retreated to the bathroom to splash water over his neck and chest, then washed his face, noting, when he glanced in the mirror, that his hair was hanging in his eyes.  Yeah, Barry would be nagging him soon about hair in the hamburgers.  Wandering back to the bedroom he pulled off his jeans, leaving just his boxers in place, and threw himself into bed.

Waiting outside in the inky shadows of the bushes, Mikhail crept forward into the faint moonlight.  As he expected, the window was again open to the unseasonably balmy night air.

It was an easy matter to brush aside the curtains and slip silently over the sill.  Once in the room he stood, admiring the feast spread out before him: Shane, stretched full length on the bed, lying on his back, his head turned slightly away from the open window, his gentle snores disturbing the stillness.   He’d kicked off the covering sheet so that it lay tangled around his feet, exposing the finely sculptured and muscled body to the night air.

Mikhail approached, unable to resist the allure of such perfection.  His imagination had not misled him: the almost naked boy was truly beautiful.  Blond hair trailed the pillow and he pictured the deep blue eyes behind his closed eyelids.

He lay beside the boy and moving his lips close to his ear whispered quietly.  Shane stirred but didn’t wake, merely turned his head, exposing more of his neck to the gentle touch of Mikhail’s lips.  Satisfied, Mikhail took what he had come for.  As he gradually moved downwards over the exposed areas of the lithe body, Mikhail’s moans of appreciation and the sounds of gentle sucking echoed in the otherwise silent room.

Hours later, sated on the orgasmic pleasures he had taken from his victim, Mikhail rested.  He felt the dawn hour approaching, but a quick glance at the bedside clock radio reassured him that sunrise was still at least an hour away.  He turned his head to nuzzle again at the boy’s neck.  He was quite delicious, this strong healthy male.  Mikhail felt the sluggish beat of the pulse beneath his lips.  He knew he had feasted enough, but the allure of that pulse and the pleasures of the boy were too much.  There was time for more.

Mikhail was sucking greedily when the clock radio turned on and blasted sound into the stillness of the early morning, causing him to jerk back.

“Good morning, listeners.  Hope you all remembered to switch your clocks back for the end of daylight saving.  Yep folks it’s 7.00 in the a.m. and the sun is…”

The voice carried on in that falsely bright manner, but he wasn’t listening any more, staring instead in shock at the window and the first rays of brilliant sunshine streaming into the room past the curtains he’d pushed aside so excitedly hours before.  His last conscious thought was a final curse against the hateful world of humans.  But the voice went on babbling, indifferent to his curse.

At length Shane stirred, groaned, then flung his arm out to still the irritating voice from the radio.  How long had that voice been droning on? It seemed he’d been hearing it for ages before he finally managed to shut it off.  He felt tired, drained, and the echo of seductive whispers lingered in his mind.  He shook his head in an attempt to dislodge the unwelcome thoughts, then groaned again as the morning sun hit his eyes.  Damn I must’ve left the curtains open.  He rolled out of bed, lurched over to the window, and yanked the curtains closed.

The movement caused a twinge over his shoulder and neck, and he rubbed at the soreness, surprised when his fingers came away slightly streaked with blood.  Puzzled, he rubbed against his neck again, and felt small lumps under his fingertips.  He moved his hand further over his shoulder and across his chest.  More lumps.  He looked down at his torso. Small puncture marks were visible everywhere, even by the elastic top of his boxers and down his thighs.  What the hell had been feasting on him all night? Had a spider gotten in among the bedclothes, or had that damn cat from next-door picked up fleas again? Greedy little bastards had a field day – or night – whatever they were!

He moved over to the dresser to take a look in the mirror.  Moving his fingers down his body he examined the marks – bites, whatever they were.  They looked red and sore, although they were relatively painless when he touched them.  Stepping back to take in the extent of the damage Shane realized the image of his body was slightly blurred around the edges, almost translucent and he was sure he could see a trace of the bed and bedside table through his torso.  Frowning, he rubbed his eyes and looked again.  No change.  He tried moving backwards, forwards and to the sides, but whatever his position the illusion remained the same – a hazy-edged, see-through image of his body.  Strange, what the fuck was wrong with his mirror?

Giving up, he staggered back towards the bed and flung himself down.  It was then he realised his bed was full of thick dust that had spread over the sheets and dribbled onto the floor.

Grunting with disgust, Shane leapt from the bed and stared down at the mess.  What the fuck was going on? First the mirror and now this.  How the hell had his bed got full of this crap? Shaking his head, at a loss for an explanation, Shane tried to remember what had happened the night before.  The nightclub, the flashing lights, the dancing, the coming home alone.  Nothing to explain this mess, nothing but his strangely familiar dreams, that quiet voice, and the feelings of pleasure that even now made him harden.  He had no clear recollection of what he’d dreamt, only vague impressions of fear and longing – or was it lust?

He shook his head again in an effort to dispel the memories and get his body under control, and dragged the sheets off the bed.  By the time he’d fumbled to the back courtyard, shaken out the sheets – wincing when the sunlight hit his eyes – dumped them in the washing machine and cleaned up the sooty mess with dustpan and brush, he was exhausted.  What the hell was wrong with him?

He managed to return to his bedroom, make a quick call to the McDonald’s he worked at to report in sick then threw himself on the bare mattress.  Within seconds he was asleep.

As he drifted off, Shane recalled the large black car with darkly tinted windows he’d seen before, parked at the front of the apartment.  It was there again that morning, he’d noticed it when he’d closed the curtains, and he wondered if he was being watched.  The thought made him uneasy, and invaded his dreams.

*****

Quiet, persistent knocking woke Shane several hours later.  Even when he pulled his pillow over his ears to shut it out, the sound still penetrated.  Finally, he threw the pillow on the floor and rolled out of bed for the second time that day.  He noticed that the sun had drifted past his window and it was now late afternoon.

Reluctantly, he opened his front door, wincing again at the overcast brightness outside.  The man standing on his doorstep was older than Shane, maybe in his late twenties or early thirties, with short dark hair neatly parted on the left side and brushed flat.  Dark glasses sat on his finely chiselled Roman nose.  The man’s smile was infectious, the mouth generous, with small laugh lines at the corners.  He was dressed like the quintessential salesman, down to the neat suit, shiny shoes and briefcase by his side, but he didn’t act like a salesman.

Although he exuded self-confidence, his manner was firm rather than pestering.  Shane wished he could see his eyes behind those dark glasses to get some idea of what kind of person he was dealing with.

“Don’t want any, go away.”

The man pushed his foot into the doorway, effectively blocking Shane’s efforts to close the door.

“Mr. Garrett … Shane, wait.  I have to talk to you.”

“How do you know my name? Who are you anyway?”

“If you’ll let me come in, I’ll tell you.”

“Sure, come in,” Shane said, without the slightest idea as to what made him say it.  He stood aside to let the stranger in and immediately regretted it.  He was still in his boxers, and he’d woken up with a hard-on, the kind that stays with you till you empty your bladder.  “Um… let me just go put some clothes on.  Take a seat.  I’ll be back in a minute.”

“You can get dressed if you like, but it’s not necessary.  Underwear doesn’t offend me.  I’ll make myself comfortable.”  The stranger’s blatantly admiring stare made Shane’s cheeks flame.

Retreating to the bedroom after a quick detour to the toilet, Shane hurriedly dressed, throwing on the jeans he’d been wearing the night before and fetching a clean T-shirt from the cupboard.  Glancing down at his torso before pulling on the shirt, Shane could see that the bites were still there, but had faded to small, dull red patches.  He avoided looking in the mirror.

Feeling more comfortable now he was dressed, Shane returned to the lounge room.  The stranger had been staring out the window but turned around when Shane entered the room.

“My name’s Connor … Connor Franklin,” he said, reaching out to Shane and taking off the dark glasses.  “My job is to find certain, er …individuals, and … well, I think you can help me find one in particular.”

Connor’s hand was warm in his, the grip tight, and Shane noticed his eyes were green.  He wouldn’t have expected to be able to see the colour of a guy’s eyes so clearly in such dim light. More importantly, he wondered why he had noticed them.

Shane hastily let go Connor’s hand.  “Sure. Okay.  Who is it you’re looking for?”

“Mikhail.”

“Huh? Who’s Mikhail?”

“Shane, don’t play games.  This is serious.  I must find Mikhail now and, er… neutralize him.  You have to tell me where he is.”

“Whoa there, mister… Connor, whatever.”  Shane felt increasingly edgy.  This guy was really starting to creep him out.  “I have no idea who you’re talking about.  And you still haven’t explained how you know my name.”

“I know your name because I’ve been trailing Mikhail for a long time, and you’ve been associating with him.  Naturally your name has come to my attention.”

A vague memory came to Shane – a heavily accented voice and a face almost obscured by long hair.

“Do you mean that creep who’s been hanging around at the nightclub?  Big teeth, scraggly hair and not much personality?  Whispers a lot?”

Connor smiled and nodded.  “Sounds like Mikhail.”

“Suppose you tell me what this is all about.”

“Okay.  Sit down.  This isn’t going to be easy.”  Connor waited until Shane sat down on the lounge suit, then seated himself in the armchair.  “Shane, what do you know about vampires?”

“Vampires? Those are just crappy stories from horror films.”  To his own ears Shane knew his voice was thready, uneven.

“You’re wrong, Shane.  Vampires are very real.  Mikhail is a vampire.”  He paused.  “You’re one, too.”

Shane stared at Connor.  The guy took himself seriously, that much was obvious.  But vampires? Shane decided to humor him.  “What makes you think either Mikhail – or me – are, err … vampires?”

“I can sense another vampire.  You have all the signs.”  Connor’s voice was sure, his expression serious.

Shane flushed, remembering his near naked state when he’d first opened the door to Connor.

“Oh, come off it.  This is crazy.  Just because I had a few bug bites on me.”

The image of teeth marks rather than insect bites flashed through Shane’s mind for a moment, but he pushed it aside.  “And so what if it looks like I can see through myself in …”  He stopped, regretting the words as soon as they were out, and hurried on.  “All that dust in my bed was probably just those no-see-’em things.  You know, those little blood-suckers.  They have them in the States, I hear, but what they’d be doing here I don’t know.”

Shane knew he was babbling, and judging by the expression on his face he could tell that Connor knew it too.  Shane didn’t like the look of sympathy he saw there either.  “Next thing, you’ll be telling me you’re a vampire,” he said, hoping Connor would laugh and admit the joke.

“This has all been very helpful, really it has.  What you’ve said gives me a fairly good idea of what’s become of Mikhail.”

“Oh boy,” Shane thought, “irony.  Now the man is making fun of me.”

“And by the way, I am.”

“Am what?”

“A vampire.”

Shane sprang to his feet and headed to the door.  “Oh, man, that’s it! You are completely bug shit crazy.  Just get the fuck outta here, will ya? Vampires.  Jeez!”

Connor was suddenly beside him, his hand out to prevent him from opening the door.  How the hell did he do that so fast?

“Shane, don’t be foolish.  You need to feed; if you don’t you’ll die.  And you need to learn exactly what it will take to survive as what you are now.”  Connor’s eyes bore into his.  “You need my help before it’s too late, before you do something that brings the ire of the Council on you, or you fall afoul of another vampire.”

Shane shook off the restraining hand, pulling his eyes away from the green ones.

He turned the doorknob and yanked open the door.  “Out, now, before I call the cops.”

“All right.  I’m going, but here’s my card.”  The door-to-door salesman once again, Connor fished a small white business card out of his breast pocket and handed it to Shane.  “Whenever you need me, call my cell phone.  Day or night.  And believe me Shane – you’ll need me.”

“Yeah, right,” Shane muttered, shoving the door closed behind Connor.

He glanced at the card, which contained only Connor’s name and a phone number, then slid it into the front pocket of his jeans.  His cock stirred at the brief contact and he remembered his half naked state and the hard-on he’d been exhibiting.  The guy would’ve had to be blind not to have noticed.  But vampires! Shane shook his head, then realized his hand was still in his pocket, idly playing with his cock.  Shit! What the fuck was he thinking! Jerking his hand away he headed towards the kitchen.  He was hungry.

He was halfway to the kitchen when he realized he still hadn’t had that shower he’d promised himself the night before.  Pulling the front of his t-shirt away from his body he dipped his head and sniffed loudly.  Not good.  Okay, shower first, then eat.

The shower was perfect, warm water splashing down over his body, cleaning away the debris of his not so perfect day and the sweat and grime of the night before.  Working the soap over his body, Shane caught himself thinking of Connor.  The guy was a complete whacko, but kind of cute.  And those eyes – almost feline – slightly slanted and a brilliant green.  Shane closed his eyes and leaned back against the shower tiles.  As the water sprayed over him, he began to stroke himself with a soapy hand, prick half erect, as he imaged Connor without the dark glasses, his hair mussed up, those green eyes watching him.

Completely absorbed now, he kept up a steady rhythm, letting his other hand wander over nipples and stomach, enjoying the sensations his hands and the water sliding down his body brought to him.

Shane dreamed on, hands busy, Connor’s face becoming clearer.

A voice echoed through his mind, sibilant sounds and memories of erotic suggestions whispered in his ear.  Another, less attractive, face superimposed over Connor’s and the green eyes of his vision turned to red fiery orbs and long, viciously sharp teeth sprouted from the mobile mouth.

Shane gasped and jerked back in fright, banging his head against the tiles.  Shuddering, trying to catch his breath, he held a hand against the tiles and rubbed the back of his head with the other.  This was getting ridiculous.  Now he was having nightmares in his daydreams.  He turned the shower off – the water had gone cold anyway – dried and, wrapping the towel around his waist, headed to the kitchen, intentionally avoiding both the bathroom and bedroom mirrors.  He’d have something to eat, then go to the nightclub, hang out with the guys for a while.  Maybe that would take his mind off Connor Franklin and talk of vampires.

Half-heartedly rummaging through the kitchen cupboards, looking for something that appealed, Shane eventually settled on a tin of tomato soup, pouring it into a saucepan to heat.  But when he lit the gas, he realized how unappetizing the soup looked and smelled.  Suddenly he wasn’t so hungry after all.  Sighing, he threw the contents into the bin and the pan in the sink.

Searching though his wardrobe a few minutes later he pulled out a pair of good jeans and a blue shirt.  He opened his underwear drawer, grabbed some socks and was just about to pick out clean boxers when he hesitated.  He remembered the expression on Connor’s face and the hot look when he had gazed at him, almost naked, earlier.  Leaving the boxers where they were, he slammed the drawer shut again.

Not long after he was dressed and ready for his night out.

Just as Shane could not keep himself from thinking about the intruder, Connor Franklin’s thoughts were focused on Shane and the memory of his near naked body, cock erect and straining the material of his boxers.  He sat in his car for a moment, gazing at Shane’s apartment, deep in thought wondering if the attraction he felt for the young man had warped his judgment as far as dealing with Mikhail was concerned.  He ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it out of its combed-down perfection, then made a call on his mobile phone.

“Yes?”  The deep, almost gravelly voice answered.

“It’s Connor.  I’ve just left his apartment.  Mikhail was definitely there, as we suspected, but there’s no sign of him now.  It’s more than likely he miscalculated and was … singed.  The boy mentioned some dust in his bed.  Whatever happened in there, my guess is Mikhail turned the boy.  Of course there’s no way we can be sure till tonight without putting him at risk.”

“That’s not good.  Did you tell him?”

“Yes.”

“That may not have been a good idea.  How did he take it?”

“I handled it badly.  He doesn’t believe, or rather doesn’t want to believe.”

“That’s hardly surprising.  We all had a certain amount of difficulty adjusting.  You know we can’t let him go rogue, don’t you?”

“Yes, of course I know that.”  Connor rubbed his hand across his forehead as he considered what to say next.  “Give me some time.  I’m sure I can talk him round, get him to cooperate.  He’s an innocent in this.  We messed up, not him.  I should have got to Mikhail sooner.”

“Everyone is innocent until the hunger hits them.”  There was a brief silence before the voice continued.  “Don’t get too close, Connor.  I’d hate for you to be harmed if it turned out you were less than willing to resolve the matter in a… shall we say permanent manner?…if it became necessary.”

“Thanks for your concern, Martin, but I think I can remain detached enough to do what has to be done.”

“I hope so.  Nevertheless, I would like to see you Connor, to discuss progress.”

“Why? Don’t you trust me?”

“Of course I do, you’re one of our best operatives.  However I feel it would be good to touch base, so to speak.  My place, any time after midnight will do.”

Connor knew better than to argue.  “Fine, I’ll be there.”

With no goodbye uttered, they clicked off.

Connor studied the apartment again, his forehead creased in a frown.  Then he sighed and started the car, driving to where the cul-de-sac entered onto the main road.  He parked where he could have a good view of the apartment, made himself as comfortable as he could and settled down to watch and wait.

****

The strobe lights hit Shane as soon as he entered the nightclub, flashing iridescent beams that split the air.  Bodies moved in disjointed rhythm – marionettes suspended from invisible wires.  He could see clearly through the smoky haze.  The atmosphere was heady.  He spotted Mike, Charlie, and Julian at the centre of the dancing throng.  Someone handed him a beer, and he took a long swig.  It lay heavily on his stomach, making him nauseous and forcing him to swallow hard to stop himself from bringing it back up.

Shane began to sway to the music.  Julian moved close, rubbing his groin against him.  Shane felt Julian’s arousal and it matched his own, but his was more than sexual.  There was an element in it he couldn’t define, something more primal.  He felt strange, aloof, not quite part of the humanity that surrounded him, yet aware of the vibrant and throbbing life of the undulating bodies.  He let Julian move against him for a while, glorying in his warmth and the life-giving blood pumping in the swelling penis rubbing against him.  Then he turned away.

Other dancers gyrated around him, but Shane remained in his own space.  His friends tried to talk to him; he ignored them.  The more he danced, the more the music seemed to take him to another place.  He began to whirl, a maniacal dervish.  Faster, faster, faster the lights flashed as he spun, and the pulse beat of the music echoed through his body, joined with the pulsing blood he heard, smelled, sensed around him.

As he whirled he saw Connor in the periphery of his vision, standing on the edge of the dance floor watching.  Damn Connor! Shane wasn’t about to let the man spoil this perfect symmetry he had found with the music and the beat of humanity.

“Hey, Shane, man.  What’re you doing? Stop – you’re acting crazy.” Charlie had hold of his shoulder, had stopped his mad spinning across the floor.

Shane turned on him, teeth bared in a savage snarl.

“Whoa, what’s got into you, man?” Charlie took a step back, hands held up as if to ward him off.

Shane blinked, dazed and uncoordinated.  No one was dancing now.  He looked around the dance floor and saw his friends looking at him with concern.  The other dancers stood staring, sending him frightened looks.  He stared back, as frightened as they were.  What was happening to him? Had someone spiked the beer? He swung round, searching for an explanation, scared of what he would find but needing answers.

Very clearly Shane saw a man standing just beyond the light that surrounded the dancers.  The man’s eyes glowed with their own luminance.  Shane stiffened.  The back of his neck ruffled, like the hackles of a dog poised to attack.  A low growl formed in his throat.  The figure retreated slightly, and Shane settled again, eyes sweeping the surroundings.  He thought for a moment he saw Connor moving through the crowd to stand beside the man, but he wasn’t sure.

Charlie’s voice drew him back to himself.  “Shane, are you okay?  You don’t look so good.”

“No, I… I don’t… I better get some air.”

Panic gripped him.  Turning from Charlie, he fled from the nightclub out onto the street.  Out of nowhere, the figure he’d seen from the dance floor jumped in front of him.  He swerved to avoid it.  It came for him again and Shane pushed against it, flinging his hands out in front of him, but it grabbed hold of him, crushing his arms against his body and squeezing the breath from his lungs.  Then Shane caught a glimpse of green flashing eyes, and another shadowy form latched on to the first.  The two crashed to the ground at his feet wrestling furiously, rolling towards the gutter.  He jumped over them and fled.

He heard Connor calling out for him to stop; he just kept running until he reached his apartment.

Connor and Shane’s assailant wrestled almost silently for a few seconds before Connor gave an almighty heave that sent his opponent flying into the middle of the roadway.  Ignoring the crumpled figure, Connor headed after Shane, keeping well behind and out of sight.

Standing in a doorway across the road, he watched as Shane entered his apartment.  The bedroom light flared briefly but otherwise the apartment remained dark and silent.  Connor waited for a short while, then, satisfied Shane would remain where he was for now, left.  There were things he had to do, the first of which was to feed.

He soon found what he wanted.  A derelict lay curled up in a dark alley fast asleep, clutching an almost empty bottle of cheap wine to his chest.  The drunk’s blood was wine tainted and slightly sour but Connor couldn’t afford to be fussy.  There was much to be done before Shane stirred again.  He took as much as he needed from the derelict, left some folded bank notes in the frayed pocket of his jacket, and hurried to his car.  It was time to see Martin.

It didn’t take long to reach Martin’s multistoried mansion, set well back on a large estate in one of the more affluent suburbs.  The house, fronted by a long driveway lined with poplar trees, was sufficiently isolated that comings and goings in the dead of night remained unnoted by the local residents.

Connor waited impatiently in the vestibule of the house, pacing restlessly before he was ushered into Martin’s office by Martin’s perpetually unsmiling manservant.

“Good evening, Connor.  You have news on our problem, I trust?” Seated behind a large, ornate desk, Martin didn’t bother to rise as Connor entered.

“There have been developments, yes.”  Connor ignored the straight-backed chair in front of the desk and settled instead into a comfortable armchair to the side, forcing Martin to swing around slightly to maintain eye contact with him.  It paid to keep Martin a little off balance.

An imposing figure, with leonine features accentuated by a mane of long silver hair, Martin was one of the oldest vampires Connor knew.  Connor respected him and they were friends of a sort, but he knew the ancient vampire wouldn’t allow any personal feelings to interfere with Council law.

“The boy’s transformation is almost complete, his hunger obvious.  He was attacked earlier tonight when he trespassed on someone else’s territory.”

Martin nodded.  “He is willing to cooperate now?”

“I think he will be.  He’s frightened, of course, and still very confused, but on the verge of acceptance.  He’s returned to his apartment and will not be going anywhere tonight.  I’ll go back when we’re finished here, watch over him during the day and he can feed from me when he wakes, that way I’ll be sure he doesn’t budge.”

“I still hold concerns about this boy, Connor.  The situation has been precarious from the start.  I need your guarantee that you will dispose of him if it becomes necessary.”

“Have I ever let you or the Council down, Martin?” Connor said, wondering how Martin had sensed his growing attraction for Shane, his reluctance to see harm come to this vulnerable fledgling vampire.

“No, your service has always been exemplary, Connor.  I’m only concerned because I know your… uh, inclinations.  Very well, I’ll continue to leave the matter in your hands for the moment.  However, I advise you to be prepared to act as the rules stipulate.  The Council made them in the best interests of us all.”  Martin gave Connor a knowing look then turned back to the paperwork he had been studying when Connor entered.

Accepting the dismissal and the admonition, Connor rose.  “I’ll report back tomorrow.”

Martin glanced up.  “Yes, Connor, do that.”

With nothing more to be said, Connor walked from the office, closing the door quietly behind him.

When he arrived back at Shane’s apartment, Connor parked a block or so away, then walked the rest of the distance.  He stopped outside the apartment for a moment, listening intently.  Satisfied by the sounds of light snoring that Shane was asleep, he stared at the door lock.  It clicked open and he entered.  He stayed long enough to make sure Shane was comfortable and safe, then left.  He would go home, get some rest himself.  He’d sense the boy’s need when it was time – when it was time to return.

****

Shane stirred, tried to force his eyes open.  He knew daylight had come because there was a faint light behind the tightly closed curtains.  Funny, he couldn’t remember closing them so tightly last night.  And what was that draped across the window? Cracking his eyes a little wider and sitting up slightly, he saw a blanket had been fastened to the curtain rail and wedged tightly against the windowsill.

He certainly couldn’t remember doing that.  He didn’t remember much at all from last night except a mad dash home and throwing himself fully clothed on the unmade bed.  He was still fully clothed, but his shoes were missing and he was covered with the quilt.

Groaning, he sat up, then fell back against his pillows.  He felt like death.  Glancing at the bedside clock he was surprised to find it was early evening.  He’d slept all day.  Shit.  Work.  He hadn’t even phoned in sick.  Knowing what an arsehole Barry was, he would probably get the sack.  God, how much worse could things get?

Making an effort, he pulled himself up off the bed and reached for his mobile phone.  A quick conversation with Barry confirmed the worst; if he didn’t turn up for his next shift, he needn’t bother coming in at all.  Damn, he needed that job, even if it was only part-time work at McDonald’s.

Shane wandered into the kitchen and put the coffee maker on, decided he couldn’t stomach coffee after all, and turned it off.  He made toast, but the first bite tasted like ash, and he dumped the lot in the bin.

What the hell was wrong with him? He felt sick and weak.  Had he caught AIDS or something off some uncaring bastard? Oh, fuck! The very thought made it impossible to stand, and he lowered himself slowly onto a kitchen chair to think.  He was panicked enough already; no point in dwelling on that now.  He’d get tested first thing in the morning.

Edgy and restless he prowled the kitchen and the lounge.  Retreating to the bedroom, he considered pulling the blanket down off the window but was strangely reluctant to do so.  Finally, he made his way to the little courtyard at the back of the apartment and stood in the cool evening air.  The moon was full – bright and large in the now darkened sky.  He gazed at it, seeing startling detail in the moon’s surface.  The events of the night before, the nightclub, the living pulses he felt around him, the sensations – everything came back to him, and he shuddered.  What was happening to him? He felt tired, drained of life.  But worst of all was the hunger, the craving for something he couldn’t define.  Turning, he dragged himself back into the apartment.

He was trembling and nauseated.  His legs barely held him up and he stumbled into the bathroom, just making the toilet before he started retching, nothing in his stomach to expel, not even bile.  When was the last time he’d eaten? Still trembling uncontrollably, he stripped off his shirt and made his way to the washbasin, turning on the tap and splashing water over his face then scooping more water into his mouth and spitting it out, trying to get rid of the foul taste in his mouth.  He looked up, breathing heavily, struggling to get a hold on himself.

It took a few seconds before it hit him.  He was staring directly into the mirror, and it was empty.  He wasn’t there.  Tentatively he reached out, wet fingers leaving marks on the shiny surface as he touched it.  He could see the water glisten, but his fingers were not reflected.

Vampires! Terrified, he staggered back.  Sweet God in Heaven, what was he going to do? He needed Connor.

Where was that damn card? Jeans pocket.  Where the fuck were his jeans? Scrabbling on the bathroom floor he finally found them and dug into the pocket for the card with shaky fingers.  He hurried back to his bedroom, grabbed his phone, and punched in the number.  The phone clicked straight into the message bank.  Shit.  As soon as the required beep ended Shane spoke into the phone, his voice panicked.  “Connor, you said to call.  I’m not feeling too good.  I need to see you.  Don’t know anything anymore.  Just come… please.”

Clutching the phone he lay down on the bed and curled up into a small, tight, shivering ball, unable to stop the sobs coming, whispering to himself, his voice breaking, “Come soon… come soon…”

“Shane, where are you?”

Was he here already? How long had it taken? “Bedroom,” Shane managed to croak.  Connor was there in an instant.  “You got my call?”

“You called? No.  I’ve been standing in the street outside.  I left the phone in my glove box, a few blocks down the road.  I heard your despair through the walls.  But you called.  That’s good.”  Connor’s tone was gentle.  “You know what has to be done now, don’t you?”

Shane watched Connor slowly unbutton and strip off his shirt, throwing it on the end of the bed.   He was wearing a sleeveless undershirt that exposed his upper arms and shoulders.  It clung tightly to his muscled chest and outlined his hard, raised nipples.  Shane wondered what was turning Connor on more, Shane himself or whatever it was Connor was going to do to him.  This man, vampire, whatever, was more attractive, more desirable than his salesman’s outfit let on.  Shane stared, fascinated as Connor brought his wrist up to his mouth and made a small tear with the fangs Shane could see jutting from his mouth.  Connor held the bleeding wrist up in front of his face, and Shane stared, transfixed by the blood running over the edge of the extended wrist.

Quickly, before the blood dropped onto the mattress Shane lowered his head, tongue darting out and scooping it up.  It was warm and sweet on his tongue, like hot chocolate on a cold day, bringing back childhood memories of fires burning brightly in fireplaces and steaming mugs full of the rich liquid.  He licked again.

Lifting his eyes to Connor’s face Shane could see his smile at this first step.  The next step came quickly.  Having lapped up all the blood on and around Connor’s wrist, Shane now fastened his mouth over the wound and sucked, pulling the blood in, revelling in the taste.  “Hey, not too much too quickly, or you’ll drain me dry.”  Connor instructed as he pulled his wrist away slightly.  Shane slowed the suction a little, taking smaller gulps.

“You’re certainly a greedy little fledgling.”

But Shane wasn’t really listening to Connor’s voice – he was listening instead to the sound of Connor’s blood as it was pulled from his vein, a sound that echoed through Shane’s mind like soft music, and with it the smell of the blood mingled with Connor’s own personal smell, rich and lush, and as heady, as intoxicating, as the blood taste.

Finally Shane leaned back on his pillow and smiled a sated, satisfied smile.  Connor reached over with his thumb and wiped at the blood smears Shane could feel staining his lips, lifting the thumb to his own lips to lick clean.  Shane shuddered at the sensuousness of the act.

Connor continued to lick at his thumb, watching Shane through slightly hooded eyes.  “For a newly made vampire the first taste of blood after the transition is the best – sweet and syrupy after being hungry for so long.  But it’s not good to gulp your sustenance from a host Shane.”  Connor leaned down, lips inches from Shane’s.  “I’ll need to teach you how to do it properly,” he said as he brought his pink tongue to lick the remaining traces of blood from Shane’s lips.  Shane reflexively opened his mouth and Connor’s tongue accepted the invitation, sweeping in quickly then withdrawing as Connor broke the contact.

“We feed off humans most of the time,” Connor continued as his lips moved to suck gently just below Shane’s ear.  “But we have to be very subtle; otherwise they would realize vampires are real, not just stories from mythology.  They would want to destroy us.  Humans are like that when they encounter something they don’t understand.”

“Like gays,” Shane thought, and he shuddered as the lips moved further down to nibble at his neck just above his shoulder.

“It’s not pleasant when humans become vampire hunters.  Stakes and hatchets often play a big part, so it’s important not to scare them, otherwise our very existence could be in peril.”  Connor bit down a bit harder on Shane’s neck and Shane gasped, waiting for the sharp incisors to break his skin.  But instead, Connor lifted his head to look in Shane’s eyes again.  “I won’t feed from you now,” he said.  “But I will show you how to seduce any human into giving you his blood – you’ll want to feed on men, as I do, I assume – and allowing you to come back again for more.”

Shane couldn’t help the tremor that went through him at Connor’s words and the intense look in those slightly slanted green eyes.  Then Connor was gone.  As he lifted himself up and away from Shane’s side, Shane started to protest.

Then he saw Connor taking off his undershirt and pants, revealing all of his muscular body.  Shane licked his lips as his eyes travelled slowly over the broad shoulders, down the flat stomach, to the long thin cock nestled in the thatch of slightly curling hair between his legs.  Smiling, Connor let Shane’s gaze linger on him for a moment before he returned to the bed and quickly undid the button on Shane’s jeans, then unzipped them and pulled them off, Shane raising his hips off the mattress to help.

“Always treat your human prey as something precious – as you would a lover, because they provide you with their life blood and give you untold pleasure if you do it properly.”  Connor lay down beside him on the narrow bed.  Before Shane could reply, Connor’s lips returned to their exploration of his neck, and Shane suddenly couldn’t say anything, only revel in the feel of that sensual mouth.

Connor continued licking and sucking gently as he progressed over and down Shane’s body, lingering to pull on each nipple with his lips and teeth before sliding his tongue over the taut stomach.  Shane moaned and arched up to meet Connor’s mouth.  Connor continued on his course, his hands holding Shane’s hips down on the bed as he kissed and licked over his groin, then down one thigh and up the other.  By now Shane was a quivering mass, convulsing with each new touch and lick.  Connor’s voice was mesmerizing, his lips cool and hot at the same time, making Shane forget everything but that mouth and the pressing call of his own needs.

Connor dropped a kiss on the top of Shane’s now erect prick, then looked up.  “Remember Shane, you must never take too much from a human.  If you do it right you can seduce and feed, then leave and return later for more from the same source.  But if you go too far and he dies, you will create a vampire.”

“And that’s what happened to me!” Shane gasped, fear and horror at what he now was closing over him, his desire and arousal doused as if a bucket of cold water had been dumped over him.

Sensing Shane’s withdrawal Connor moved back up his body to lie next to him.  “Yes.  Mikhail was greedy and selfish.  He took too much from you.”

Shane was silent for a moment.  “It’s all real, isn’t it?  I’m turning into a vampire.”

Connor’s tone was gentle as he reached out to touch Shane’s face.  “You already are a vampire, love.”

Shane brushed Connor’s hand away and pulled himself up off the bed.  Connor stood too, but didn’t approach Shane, who stood for a minute looking around the room, seeming to look for a place to escape, but finding nothing.  Rage consumed him.  Why did this have to happen to him? The blood he had just taken from Connor pulsed through him, burning.  A vision of Mikhail – his creator – flashed through his mind.  With a cry of anguish he picked up the bedside table and threw it at Connor, who brushed it aside without effort.

“Why the fuck do bastards like you and Mikhail even exist?” he screamed.

Connor didn’t answer him.

With a cry of fury Shane launched himself at the being who represented all the terror and pain he had been going through.  His momentum was enough to bring them both crashing to the ground.  Shane lashed out, punching and kicking at whatever part of Connor’s anatomy he could reach.

Connor swore and brought his knees up to protect himself, at the same time trying to grab hold of Shane’s wrists.  They struggled until Connor managed to wrap an arm around Shane and roll them over.  With his arms around Shane’s waist he heaved to his feet, bringing a still struggling Shane with him.  They stood, locked together for a moment, breathing in great gasps, Shane’s back tightly held against Connor’s chest, his butt firmly pressed to Connor’s groin.

“Stop, Shane.  Enough.”  Connor’s voice was ragged.

Shane stilled, then pulled away as Connor released him.  He stood looking at the wall in front of him, refusing to turn and meet Connor’s sympathetic eyes.  Then all the frustration and built up tension flared again.  Shane slammed his fist into the wall, almost punching through to the other side.

Shocked at the power of his blow, he withdrew his hand from the hole and examined his knuckles; they were undamaged.  He surveyed the wreckage of the bedside table and the chair that had been knocked over in their struggle and shook his head.  He glared at Connor.

“Why me? Why the fuck did this have to happen to me? Why do I have to turn into something as stupid as a fucking vampire, for God’s sake?”

Connor’s voice was gentle when he spoke.  “What’s done is done and you can’t change that now.  You have a choice to make.  You can accept what’s happened, or you can keep on denying it.  If you deny it, you will truly die.  The choice is yours, Shane.”

Shane continued to glare at Connor, fists and teeth clenched.  Then he sighed and his shoulders slumped, the rage draining out of him.  Defeat welled up inside to take its place.  Shivering, he sat down on the bed and wrapped his arms around his body, trying to hold back the tears that ran down his face as he grieved for his lost life.  Connor moved to sit beside him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders to draw him close to his body.  As if he could read his mind, he said, “You haven’t lost your life, Shane; it’s been exchanged for another.  Our life also has its joys and hopes.  It can be a good life, as you’ll find out if you give it a chance.”

Shane rested his head on Connor’s shoulder until his sobs subsided, then pulling back from the strong arms, he wiped at his eyes.  Standing, he walked over to the window and stared at the blanket secured to the railing, then glanced back at Connor.

“You did this, didn’t you? When I was asleep?”

“Yes, I didn’t want to take any risks.  Some vampires can withstand a certain amount of shaded or indirect sun.  Others can’t.”  He shrugged.  “I thought it prudent to be careful until we could test your resistance.”

Shane nodded again, the suspicion that Connor had easy access to his apartment confirmed.

“All that crazy stuff at the nightclub last night? And the things I can see and sense, what’s that all about?”

“Your heightened senses.  You’ll learn to control them in time.”

“And the guy outside the club? He was a vampire, wasn’t he?”

Connor nodded.  “Yes, he was trying to protect his territory.  Or maybe he just fancied you.”

Shane smiled slightly. “Are all vampires gay, then?”

Connor laughed.  “No, of course not.  We are what we were when we were human.”

“Why are you helping me? Mikhail did this to me.  All the stories say vampires are evil and all that crap.  Why are you helping me?”

“Why? Because it’s my job, and supernatural beings aren’t all bad.  Usually they’re just victims of circumstance, like you.”

“Is that the only reason?”

Connor shrugged.

“Do you fancy me too?”

Connor reached out his hand to caress Shane’s cheek.  “Do you think I go down on all my pupils?”

“Are there a lot of these ‘beings’ out there?”

“There are, Shane, and wonders you would never dream about.  Our world is as different from the human world as night from day.”

Shane smiled.  He didn’t try to resist the temptation to turn and playfully bite at the gently stroking fingers that were sending shudders down his spine.

Connor yelped, drawing his hand back.  “Hey, those fledgling teeth of yours are getting damn sharp.”

Shane grinned, unrepentant, and grabbed the nipped fingers, drawing Connor back to the bed.

“C’mon.  Tell me about this vampire business.”

“Not now, later on.  You have enough information to absorb for an introductory lesson.”

“What happens now then?”

“It’s nearly morning.  You’ll feed from me again and then sleep during the day.  I’ll find someone to feed on, then come back again tonight and we can work things out.”  He offered up his wrist again, and Shane smiled and bared his fangs.

The sun was just beginning to rise when Connor left Shane’s apartment and got into his car.  Shane was sleeping, fed and contented, and Connor had made sure all the curtains and windows were tightly closed and the doors locked.  Confident Shane would sleep peacefully and unmolested through the day, Connor drove away.  In the meantime there were things Connor had to do and people he had to see before he slept.

****

It was late when Connor returned.  He stood for a while, watching Shane sleep.  He’d hardly moved during the day and now lay much as Connor had left him, blond hair spread out on the pillow, lips still red from his night-time feeding, the sheet pulled up to his waist, chest and shoulders bare.  He was the perfect picture of a wanton angel.  The bites inflicted by Mikhail had disappeared.  Connor sat on the bed and shook Shane’s shoulder gently.

Shane stirred and opened his eyes, his face lighting up when he saw Connor.  “You’re back.”

“I said I would be.  How are you feeling?”

“Hungry.”

“Thought you might be.  Do you want to feed from me?”

“Yes.”  Shane didn’t wait for a further invitation but grabbed Connor’s wrist and quickly made a small nick in the vein with his newly developed fangs, then started sucking strongly.

“You’re learning fast.”

Shane lifted his head for a moment, smiling brightly with bloodstained lips.  “I always was a fast learner.  I’ve been dreaming about you all day.”

“Have you now?” Connor smiled and kissed his forehead then maneuvered himself around until he was laying full length beside Shane, wrist still firmly attached to Shane’s mouth.

Finally Shane seemed satisfied.  The sucking slowed, then stopped.  His gentle tongue licked around the small tear in Connor’s wrist making him shiver slightly at the sensation.

Shane looked up at Connor and said, “Now tell me about your feeding.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Everything.  It is all part of my ‘education’ after all.”  Shane’s grin was impish.

Connor smiled back.  “That’s true,” he admitted.  “Okay, I caught up with a friend of yours, Julian. He …”

“Julian! You mean you fed off Julian,” Shane interrupted, not at all sure he liked this turn of events.

Connor shrugged.  “Yes, Julian.  Why not? He’d been on a binge and needed a lift.  I obliged.   He was very… willing.”

“Yeah, I’ll just bet he was.  So, what happened?”

“I took him home and he invited me in.  That’s something you have to get a human to do, by the way, invite you inside, otherwise you can’t enter the house.”  He paused for a moment. “We got comfortable …”

“Naked you mean?” Shane interrupted again, but Connor ignored him.

“And I fed off him.  Just enough for my needs. I stopped before it went too far.  Julian won’t turn.”

“Lucky Julian.”  Shane’s tone was sarcastic, but he carried on lightly enough.  “So he didn’t get turned, but did he get turned on? Bet he got hard?”

“Let’s just say he seemed to enjoy himself.”

Shane looked at Connor speculatively, the ghost of a smile playing around his lips.

“What?” Connor said.

“Can we feed together tonight? The two of us? On the same bloke?”

Connor laughed.  “I’m not entirely sure what you have in mind, but I think I can guess,” he said.  “Yes, we’ll go hunting; it’s time to teach you how to feed on humans.  We’ll go out later.  There are other things we could do together, and this is a good time to talk about them.”

Shane leaned forward and nuzzled Connor’s neck.  “I can think of a lot of things we can do together, and most of them don’t involve talking.”

“Hmm…that too! But I have a proposition for you.  You’ll need to know more about vampires first though.  Right now it’s lesson time.”

Shane frowned, but seeing the serious expression on Connor’s face, settled back against the pillow, prepared to listen to what he had to say.

“Generally vampires, were-creatures and other supernatural beings keep out of the way of humans,” Connor began.  “It’s too dangerous not to.  A stake through the heart or a silver bullet isn’t a pretty sight, and from what I hear, the agony is excruciating.  Whatever else one may say about our bites, they’re relatively painless.”  He gave Shane a knowing smile.

“So, werewolves and ghosts, stuff like that, all really exist?”

“Of course.  The supernatural world has grown in proportion to the human one.”

Shane absorbed that for a moment.  “Makes sense.”

“Every so often one of our kind strays over the line and starts attacking and feeding off humans, killing them in the process and making more like us,” Connor continued.  “For centuries it didn’t matter too much, especially if the incidents were few and far between, but civilization grew and the world got smaller.  The attacks became more noticeable, and humans began to retaliate in force, with more effective weapons.  It was getting to the stage where human hunters were everywhere, attacking the innocent as well as the guilty, wreaking their own brand of havoc.  So some of the very old amongst us formed a Council to bring some control to the supernatural world and punish those who encroached too much on the human.”

“And you’re one of the Council?”

“Directly under it – an enforcer.  It’s my job to find the rogues and either persuade them to obey the Council’s laws or, if they won’t cooperate, dispose of them.”

“Kill them, you mean.”

“Let’s say ‘eliminate’.  After all, they’re – we’re – already dead.  Sort of.  But yes, if that’s the only way to stop them.  You have to understand, Shane.  You’ve already seen how territorial a vampire can be.  The Council was formed in an attempt to ensure the survival of all supernatural species and exert some measure of control within their world.  Do you understand the importance of that?”

“Yeah, I get it.  Mikhail was a rogue and, by the Council’s guidelines had to be ‘eliminated’.  You were sent to do the job.”

“I was sent to confirm that he had indeed turned rogue and to dispose of him if it was true.  Unfortunately, I got to him too late to save you.  We discourage making new vampires or were-creatures, but when it does happen we do our best to make sure the fledgling knows what to do and has a chance of survival.”

“If I hadn’t listened to you – if I had become a rogue, would you have had to dispose of me?”

“The creator of a fledgling is held responsible for mentoring his offspring, but if a creator can’t do that for any reason or refuses, the chances of a fledgling going rogue are strong.  That’s why the Council steps in and appoints a mentor.  Disposal of any supernatural creature is only carried out as a last resort.  I’m your mentor, Shane, not your destroyer.”

Shane sat in silence for a while, taking in everything Connor had told him.  “Did you kill Mikhail?”

Connor shook his head.  “I didn’t have to.  Mikhail was responsible for his own destruction.  He must have known of his susceptibility to the sun but his greed got the better of him.”  He went on, spelling out the details.  “I’d been watching Mikhail, who seemed to be turning rogue.  That’s how I came to intervene in your case by accident.  Now the members of the Council have agreed that I should continue to be your mentor and guide you through your fledgling process.  And there’s more.”

“Hmm, that’s good.”  Shane nuzzled at Connor’s neck again and began to unbutton his shirt.

“Don’t you want to hear what else they had to say? I thought you’d be more interested,” Connor said as his shirt was pushed off his shoulders and an insistent tug removed first one arm from the sleeves and then the other.

“Oh, I’m interested, all right, but there’s something else I’m a little bit more interested in at the moment.”  Shane’s hands were at Connor’s belt now, tugging it loose and undoing the zip of his pants.  Connor moaned as Shane’s lips met his in a deep kiss; he moaned again in loss as Shane moved away.

“What are you doing?”

“Shush! Just relax.  I intend making some of those dreams I was having come true.”

Shane kissed and licked his way down Connor’s chest towards his stomach, stopping to take small bites on the way, sucking gently before moving on, enjoying the taste and the way Connor writhed under his lips and tongue.  His hands played over Connor’s body, touching lightly.  When he reached Connor’s hips he pulled back quickly and yanked his pants all the way down and off his legs, throwing them to join his shirt on the floor.

With his head bent he took a small nibble at each of Connor’s hips, lapping up the drops of blood that welled from the bites.  Finally his mouth closed over Connor’s erection.  This was his prize; he wanted to taste all of Connor – not just his blood, but his essence too, and mingle them together.  He sucked, gently at first then as strongly as he had when sucking the blood from his vein.

Connor’s hands moved over his shoulders before burrowing into his hair, and his hips pushed up in a rhythm that met the downward motion of Shane’s mouth.  “Shane …” He whispered, his voice needy.

Shane pushed his tongue into the small slit and Connor’s hips pushed harder.  The taste was sweet at first then bitter and tangy when Connor filled his mouth with the fluid he wanted.  Sucking hard, he milked all he could, taking it all in.

When there was no more to be had, he pulled away.  Swirling the liquid in his mouth, mixing it with the blood that still lingered, he swallowed, almost purring at the flavor.

“Come here, greedy one,” Connor commanded as he pulled him up for a deep kiss, sweeping his tongue between Shane’s lips and taking his own taste.

Then he pushed Shane back onto the pillow and sank his fangs painlessly into his neck, reaching his hand down at the same time to grasp Shane’s hardness.  Shane almost screamed with the pleasure Connor’s mouth, fangs and pumping hand brought to him.  Connor moved further over Shane, pushing his knee between his legs.  Shane immediately opened wider, allowing access, and Connor, his cock fully erect again and still slick from Shane’s mouth and his own juices, pushed against his opening.  Another push and Connor slid easily inside.  Shane cried out again, lost in the rhythm of Connor’s mouth, hand and hips.  It seemed only seconds before his orgasm ripped through him.  He coated Connor’s hand with his release at the same moment Connor climaxed deep inside him.

****

Shane snuggled, relaxed and replete, against Connor’s chest.  The moonlight streamed through the window they had opened to let in the cool night air.

“What else did you do today, besides talk to the Council?” Shane said, licking gently at a bite mark just above Connor’s nipple.

“Well, I went to my house and made a few new arrangements.”

“You have a house?” Shane lifted his head to look at Connor.

“Yes, why is that so surprising? I have to live somewhere.”

“I dunno, I just thought vampires lived in caves or something.”

“Caves? Why would we live in caves?” Connor sounded genuinely puzzled.  “I’ve got a nice two story colonial house just outside town.  Bought it about fifty years ago and did it up myself.”

“How do you explain…? Oh! Never mind, I’m sure you’ll tell me more of that stuff eventually.  What were the arrangements you had to make?”

“I cleared out a few cupboards, made room in my drawers, told my housekeeper I may be having some company come to stay.  Got …”

“Who’s coming to stay with you?” Shane interrupted, hoping.

Connor grinned and reached down to pull him up for a quick kiss.  “You, silly.  If you want to come and stay with me, that is.  Of course, you could keep on at this apartment if you wanted to, find yourself something more suitable a bit later on – the neighbors might get too suspicious if you suddenly become a permanent night owl.”

“What about everything I have here, like my job?” Shane leaned on his elbow to look Connor in the eyes.

“Your life has irrevocably changed.  As for your job – I suggest you quit, unless you can go on night shifts!”

Shane snorted; there wasn’t much chance of that! He thought for a moment, turning everything over in his mind.

“That’s the point isn’t it?” he said, finally.  “I’m not what I was last week, or even two days ago.  I’m not human anymore.  Hell, I’m not even alive.”  He threw himself back down on the pillows, staring up at the ceiling.

“Shane, you are part of something else now – a different world.  A world we can explore together, if you want.”  Connor leaned over and cupped his hand to Shane’s chin, turning his face to look at him.  “There’s a lot for you to learn, but as you said yourself, you’re a quick learner.  And I’ll be there to help.”

Shane looked into Connor’s eyes.  “I’d like that, having you there.  I’d like to live with you too, and find out what this is all about.”

“Good,” Connor continued.  “Because I have a proposition for you.  Council enforcers often work in pairs.  I need a partner.  Interested?”

“You mean work with you, be an enforcer?”

Connor nodded.  “You would have to undergo training, of course.”  He hesitated at Shane’s look of uncertainty.  “You don’t have to answer me now if you don’t want to.  Think about it.”

Shane studied Connor, seeing someone he admired, someone to look up to.  Shane’s life up to now had been very ordinary; training as an Enforcer with Connor as his mentor was an attractive prospect.  And if he had to be dead, at least the offered employment held the promise of excitement.  He knew Connor could easily have eliminated him.  In fact, that would have been a far less complicated way of handling the situation.  But instead he had looked after him, guarded and guided him through a terrifying process, had done his best to ensure Shane survived.  Another thought came to him.  The past two days had been a nightmare and while he couldn’t change what had been done to him, at least with Connor he could help prevent the same thing from happening to some other, unsuspecting human.

He looked into those beautiful green eyes gazing into his own waiting for Shane’s response.  He realized then how much a future with Connor Franklin could hold and how he wanted to be an active participant of this new world.

“That would be cool.”  He pulled Connor down for another kiss to seal his fate.

END

© M A Naess.  All rights reserved.

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