05 To the Rescue

“What’s up?” James asked, peeking into Sebastian’s office, wearing only silk boxers. “You never came up when you got home….”

Sebastian looked over at him with an apology in his eyes. “Sorry, but Avery’s dragged William into a dangerous mission.” Sebastian quickly explained.

“So, what are you doing?” James asked.

“I’m monitoring the village via a satellite we hijacked,” Sebastian said with a smile.

“What are those two red dots?” James asked, awed by the technology.

“Those two are Avery and William. Those clustered are the villagers. And the light blue ones are cryptovamps,” Sebastian explained.

“Shit!” James exclaimed. “They’re all over the place….”

“Damn it!” Sebastian exclaimed in response. “WHAT ARE THEY DOING?”

The two red dots were moving fast toward the village and the swarm. Then, suddenly, the display lit up with heat and nothing was clear.

Sebastian hit the desk and looked up at James, who nodded. “Get changed and be ready in three minutes,” Sebastian ordered. “And get Marcus and Spencer!” In more like five minutes, James returned with the two men pulling on the last of their gear. “We’re going into a Central American village swarming with cryptovamps,” Sebastian explained.

Lt. Spencer asked, business-like, “Is the consul aware we’re entering his territory?”

“Damn fool is there with William Jennings on a ‘training’ mission!” Sebastian responded.

The men nodded and grabbed their wands. Sebastian led them into the jungle about a quarter mile from the action. As soon as they were through, the quiet calm of Sebastian’s home was replaced by the sounds of a very upset jungle.

The high screams emanating from the distant village soon penetrated the ruckus of the disturbed animals. As they approached the village, they soon began to see blue and red light in the village, Avery and William’s spells. “James, you and Spencer flank right,” Sebastian ordered. “Marcus, you’re with me and we’ll flank left. Be careful of William!”

“And Avery,” James added with a cheeky smile. Sebastian nodded and they were off into the jungle gloom.

***

William and Avery were standing on the edge of town, back to back, casting spells as quickly as they could. The steaming remains of twenty cryptovamps surrounded them. “We can’t keep this up, William,” Avery yelled, sounding fatigued.

William responded, “I know! We need to get inside that little temple. It’s a stone structure, and we can defend it. If we can lure one inside, we can capture it.”

“ALRIGHT! Let’s move!” Avery said.

William and Avery moved toward the structure without separating, William covering their retreat and walking backwards. Inside, they cornered two of the creatures feeding on a priest, his face smeared with white paint and red blood. Avery dispatched the two beasts, while William covered the door. Then they tossed the bloody body in front of the door, hoping its smell would serve as bait.

Both of them leaned wearily against the back wall, taking turns killing the creatures as they arrived. “Think we can make it ‘til dawn?” William asked.

“If not, we can open a portal out of here,” Avery sighed.

Suddenly, in a rush, a mob of the creatures entered the room, and William and Avery were quickly to their feet. More poured in as they fought those who had slipped in first. Soon, the influx threatened to overwhelm them, and there was no time to open a door to anywhere.

Suddenly, a light from the door so bright it seemed as if the sun had come up distracted all the creatures. Outside, a vortex of fire incinerated the creatures trying to break through, paralyzing those inside in fear. Avery bound one of the distracted creatures, and he and William quickly killed the rest.

Both wizards slumped to the floor as the sounds of fighting outside increased to a fever pitch, and they had a moment to rest. “Who is that?” William wondered aloud.

Avery smiled wearily and said, “I only know one person who likes to open with an infernal vortex: Sebastian. Your lover must have called him….”

“Chase? Why?” William asked.

“He called me to tell me he didn’t want you in any unnecessary danger,” Avery explained.

William looked angry for a moment, before he laughed. “I guess this counts….”

“Yeah,” Avery said, laughing, “he’s going to kick my ass!”

“Sebastian?” William asked.

“Chase,” Avery said seriously.

Soon, the noise outside died down as the last cryptovamps fled for their lair. After a few moments, the first villagers stuck their heads out, and, finding the four men dressed as soldiers, a cheer went up.

Sebastian smiled and shushed the people gently, as the women began crowding around them, patting them on the arms and shoulders, while the men let out loud cries. “WILLIAM? AVERY?” he called. Unsteadily, the two emerged from the temple, leaving their captive restrained inside. “Thank God,” Sebastian muttered.

“Well, how many do you think we got?” Avery asked.

“I’d say 80%, all told,” Sebastian responded with a steely gaze. “Two men, Avery? Honestly? You brought a relative novice along on this mission?”

“I figured we could get out quick if things got hairy,” Avery said defensively.

“And could you?” Sebastian asked, almost yelling.

After a long pause, the man finally admitted, “No….”

“Avery,” Sebastian began, and Avery could hear a lecture coming.

“Look, like I explained to Chase, my job is to train William. I trained his father and this task falls to me!” Avery yelled.

“Not anymore,” Sebastian declared. “Not until you demonstrate that you’ll show some fucking restraint, some fucking JUDGMENT! You may see training his boy as your duty, but my duty is to see to it that he’s as safe as can be reasonably arranged! For the immediate future, William will train in my jurisdiction, under my supervision!”

William blurted out, “Is anyone interested in hearing from me about this?”

Sebastian nodded. “Go ahead.”

“Sure, this was a bad idea, but Avery’s plan was much better. I convinced him to come into the town, because I couldn’t listen to people dying ‘til morning,” William explained.

“Part of a teacher’s responsibility is to judge the situation, regardless of the noble intent of the student, and discern whether it is appropriate. Think of Alex! You’ve got a son, for God’s sake. Imagine never having known your father!” William was struck dumb. “You are young, too young for all the responsibility that has been and will be thrust upon you. Please let the rest of us look out for you as best we still can,” Sebastian pleaded.

William nodded. “I still want Avery to teach me….”

Sebastian looked from William to the smiling man at his shoulder. “Very well. You’ll meet at my house for training sessions until otherwise announced….”

“Sebastian,” Avery began to protest, but Sebastian cut him off with a steely gaze.

“It’s my way, or no way,” Sebastian said dryly.

“You aren’t High Consul anymore, Sebastian,” Avery replied, testily.

“Maybe not, but I can cast spells from morning to noon so that no inter-dimensional travel between my region and yours is possible,” Sebastian snarled.

“Enough!” William said, exhausted. “Please! Just do it, Avery?” Then man nodded, but didn’t look happy about it.

“It’s time to go,” Sebastian said.

“NO!” William protested. “We can get them all, now. We have one captive in the temple. Please, let’s finish this? Free these people?”

Sebastian looked at him and shook his head. “Alright! When the sun is almost up, we’ll put a tracker on him and let him go. He’ll make tracks for their lair. Then we’ll burn them out!”

Avery and William rested in the temple as Sebastian guarded the prisoner. When the sky began to lighten, Sebastian cast a tracking spell on the creature and they released him. He ran so fast he almost couldn’t be seen, even by the vampires. By the time the team arrived at the cave, the sun was well up. Sebastian silenced the single sentry with a single, stealthy spell. Then, every one of the wizards raised his wand and simultaneously conjured his most powerful fire spell and unleashed it into the caves until there were no more screams to be heard. Then James and Sebastian went inside to kill any stragglers, who were little danger to vampires.

***

Chase jerked awake. “What is it?” Matt asked, groggily. He had his arm draped over Chase, so the movement had roused him from a deep slumber.

“I thought I heard the baby,” Chase laughed.

“Go back to sleep!” Matt said, shaking his head.

“Nah, I’m awake now,” Chase said, stretching. “I’m going back to Xavier’s to see Alex.” He gave Matt a quick hug and the boy rolled over to go back to sleep as Chase pulled on his clothes and slipped out the door.

Back at the house, he found Xavier holding Alex. “Mommy’s home,” the man exclaimed with a good-natured smirk at Chase. “William just called. He said he’d be home after lunch.”

“I guess it wasn’t so bad then,” Chase said with a smile.

“No, it was. Sebastian saved their asses….” Xavier frowned as he handed the baby to Chase. “And it sounds like none too soon.”

“I guess we’ll have a talk when he gets home,” Chase said.

“Take it easy on him, okay? Sebastian’s already put his foot down.” Chase raised his eyebrows, so Xavier explained, “William will be training with Avery under Sebastian’s supervision from here on out.” Chase nodded and grabbed a bottle to warm for Alex. Xavier changed the subject. “How’s Matt?”

“Same old Matt! Daniel was over last night too,” Chase said.

“How was that?” Xavier asked with a smile.

“Okay, he’s not too bad, I guess,” Chase answered.

“That’s magnanimous of you,” Xavier laughed.

“Alright, alright! He’s nice. He’s a little weird, but nice. I wish … Matt was still next door,” Chase admitted.

“You guys would have had to get used to being apart sometime. Even if you went to college together, you probably won’t end up in the same town after,” Xavier said.

“I know,” Chase said. “I just hoped it would be later rather than sooner.”

Xavier squeezed the boy’s shoulder. “I know. Nothing about anything that’s happened in the last year fits into anyone’s plans, but you’ve got William and Alex, and a whole bunch of friends to show for it! You can see!”

“But I’m crippled,” Chase reminded.

Xavier laughed. “You’ve got a limp and a pain in your hip!”

“You’re right! Life is good,” Chase admitted.

Chase put Alex on his mat and watched the boy play with the little mobile for a while, before Alex started whining a bit. Chase smiled and picked him up, grabbing a book while he was up. Within a few minutes Alex was napping and Chase sat reading. However, the warmth radiating off the little bundle soon lulled Chase to sleep as well.

When William arrived home, he sat down softly next to them and gave Alex a kiss on the forehead and laid his head on Chase’s shoulder. “Mmmm, you’re home,” Chase sighed.

“I didn’t mean to wake you,” William whispered.

“No, I’m glad you did. I’m glad you’re home,” Chase said. He got up gently and took the sleeping baby to the crib and returned. “I hear it got a little hairy….”

“Yeah, well, I guess it’s a good thing you told on us,” William said, with grudging thanks and a bit of sulkiness.

“Well, you’re damn lucky Sebastian showed up in time,” Chase said, getting a little angry.

“Why didn’t you trust me?” William asked more angrily.

“What are you talking about? I trust you! But you almost got yourself killed! I’ve got to know you aren’t going to leave me alone,” Chase closed with a tone of desperation in his voice.

William’s reply caught in his throat at the look on Chase’s face as the boy went upstairs to their bedroom and locked the door behind him.

“You are my nephew,” Xavier said from behind him, startling him again.

“I’m not in the mood for,” William began.

“Shut up, you damn fool boy! You wanted to know what I had against Sebastian? I was a kid, a little younger than James, and Sebastian was my teacher. I tried to seduce him, but he sent me away to study with Avery. I was angry and spurned, and Avery wasn’t such a stickler for the rules. But it wasn’t good for either Avery or for me, and Sebastian intervened again. He saved me, really, and it was only because of what he did that I ever got together with Aiden….”

“What does that have to do with anything?” William asked, venting his anger again, now toward his uncle.

“Chase did set Avery straight, but when I found out, I called Sam and asked him to let Sebastian know. He saved me from Avery’s irresponsibility, and I knew he would do the same for you!”

“So Chase didn’t,” William said.

“Chase always believed you’d be alright! Oh, he felt a lot better knowing that Sebastian had your back, to be sure,” Xavier smiled, putting his hand on his nephew’s shoulder.

“Avery figured, since Chase had called him,” William muttered.

“William, Avery knows a great deal about magick and mysteries of the universe. I had hoped his one great love would teach him something about people. In many ways he’s the same selfish little boy who learned to bend time because he was afraid to die, and who got a vampire to turn his brother when he couldn’t keep him any other way!”

“Chase,” William said, looking up at the locked door.

“He loves you. You should have asked him rather than accusing him, William. And never trust Avery for relationship stuff!” Xavier gave him a big hug, before leaving him alone.

Walking up the stairs and knocking on that door seemed suddenly very scary, but at last he took the first step. When he made it upstairs he leaned on the door and knocked very softly. “Chase,” he said softly, “I don’t want to wake Alex….”

“He’s up,” Chase replied his voice flat.

“Chase, please?” When the boy didn’t open the door he continued, “Chase, I’m sorry! It wasn’t you who called Sebastian, was it?”

“No,” Chase responded.

“Chase! Please, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have,” William began.

“You shouldn’t have jumped on my case for not trusting you? When it was you who wasn’t trusting me?” Chase asked, angry.

“Exactly,” William said with a sigh. “I should have listened to you, rather than Avery’s … guesses!”

“Darn right,” Chase said, trying not to curse around the baby. He unlocked the door but didn’t open it. A minute later, William came in, his head hanging. Chase handed Alex to him, and the boy giggled, forcing a smile to both their faces. “I’m going out with Xavier,” Chase said. “Play with Alex and think about how you’re going to make this up to me,” he added, trying to repress the smile he was wearing.

William nodded somberly before kissing Chase on the cheek and turning his attention to his son. “Xavier,” Chase called as he tromped downstairs.

“All better?” the man asked.

Chase ignored him and asked, “When are you going to meet that artist?”

Xavier smiled. “I’m about to leave. You still coming?” Chase nodded. “You weren’t too hard on him?”

Chase smiled. “I let him in and let him talk, but I told him he needed to think about how he was going to make it up to me.” Xavier raised his eyebrows and Chase smiled wider. “Anyway….”

When the two of them were in the car, Chase looked at Xavier and asked, “You told him you called Sam, didn’t you?”

Xavier sighed. “Yes…. What’s it like to be so perceptive?”

“It sucks,” Chase said.

“Chase, for everything you’ve been through, you’re both still just teenage boys! You’re very sensitive, and aware, but William is … well, he’s a typical boy in a lot of ways. He’s very responsible and loving, but he’s brash and impulsive, and sometimes he doesn’t think things through. But he isn’t just thinking of himself, and that’s something.” Chase nodded, and they drove off in silence.