01 The Warning

On Thursday, Xavier, Chase, and William accompanied James, Josh, and Billy on their house-hunting expedition. They managed to see three houses before lunch, at which time they found a restaurant near Xavier’s gallery so that Dave could join them.

The young man was almost completely absorbed in finishing his semester and preparing for his impending wedding, so that kept the conversation light. Dave really got along well with Josh and Billy, so everyone had high hopes that they could all work together.

They were just eating desert when everyone noticed Xavier’s eye focus on someone across the room. Then Chase blushed, and Josh laughed, asking, “What is it, guys?”

“Remember the artist we were talking about the other night? Dorian Brandt? He just walked in,” William said. About then, the young painter noticed them and made his way to their table. Josh and Billy just stared unabashedly, and even James was a little unsettled by the beauty of the man.

“Hello! How are you, Mr. Montrose?” he asked politely.

“Very well, Dorian. Looking forward to our opening next week! So who are you bringing to our little gala?” Xavier asked.

“I thought I’d come alone,” the young man smiled. “Keep my options open.”

“My clients will love that,” Xavier laughed. “Where are my manners? You remember William and, of course, Chase and Alex. This is Dave Swanson, and that is James van der Meer, and his brother Josh Barton. And this is Josh’s partner, Billy….”

“Tompkins,” Billy said with a smile. “Quite alright, Xavier.”

But Dorian’s attention had drifted back to Chase, who was trying not to return his look while blushing continuously. “Nice to meet you all,” he said. “I really should get back to my friend, though,” he added, still looking right at Chase.

They watched him walk back to his friend, a young man, thin and blond like Chase, but older, and lacking the sparkling nature that shined in Chase’s every expression.

“Man, he’s shameless,” Dave said, causing the assembly of gay men looked at him surprised.

“What do you mean?” Josh asked.

“He was macking on Chase with William sitting right there!” Dave replied. “I may be straight, but I’d know if someone was trying to get my girl’s attention. Shit!”

“He is seriously into Chase,” Xavier agreed.

“And you’re right, he doesn’t care who knows it,” William joined.

“GUYS! It’s uncomfortable enough without a play-by-play,” Chase said, covering his face and causing them all to laugh.

“What are you going to do about it?” Dave asked.

“What do you mean?” Chase asked. “It’ll pass!”

Dave shrugged and said, “Might, but it might not. I can guess what he sees in you,” Dave admitted, “and it might not be so easy to get over that.”

Dave’s honest compliment made him blush again, but William said, “You might be right. If he oversteps his bounds, we’ll sort it out!”

Dave nodded and finished his tea before excusing himself back to the office. “Good luck, tomorrow,” he said to Billy and Josh.

“Thanks,” Josh waved as the young man hurried back to his office.

After lunch, the group returned to house-hunting mission. They managed five more houses in the afternoon and evening, before James and his brothers returned to Sebastian’s. They’d return to look at a few more houses on Friday morning with Xavier while William and Chase picked up Chase’s parents at the airport.

William and Chase were eating breakfast the next day when William asked, “What time are your mom and dad getting in?”

“Around 11:00,” the Chase replied, hurrying to finish his cereal. “So we need to get dressed and get Alex ready to go!”

“We have a couple of hours,” William said, “and Alex is still asleep. And we have the house to ourselves….”

Chase smiled and nodded, and they ran upstairs to a guest room where they could hear if the baby woke up. They shed their clothes in a minute and hopped into the bed and under the covers enthusiastically. William rolled on top of Chase and kissed him, his superior size pinning the boy comfortably.

“Do you want to be on top?” William asked.

Chase grinned and said, “If we get down to business, we could both have a turn….”

“Right,” William said, resuming the kiss before disappearing under the covers.

On their fifth day of training, Marcus called Chris and Carl into the living room of the cabin after breakfast. “Tonight, we’re going out into the woods. The point is to discover an object of power. Don’t assume anything; just let your senses lead you. It might be a piece of wood or stone you can use for ritual magic—you might carve a staff or a wand, or an altar or mortar out of it. Your quest is to find a ritual object meant for you. Understand?”

“NO!” Chris laughed, and Carl joined him.

“Good,” Marcus laughed. “I’ll lead you out to your starting points and you’re not to return here until morning. I’ve got GPS guidance for you, so you’ll have no problem finding your way back,” he added.

“Thank God!” Edward replied with a sigh of relief.

“The point is not to endanger anyone,” Marcus smiled. “This isn’t a rite of passage, so much as it is a spiritual quest. The object you find, and what it is intended for, will tell you much about your spiritual natures and powers. So spend the rest of the day doing whatever you like to prepare…. We’ll set out at dusk.”

The young men all sat and talked together, before the couples retreated to enjoy some alone time. Edward and Carl made their way to the bedroom and simply crawled back into bed. “You’ll need your rest for tonight,” Edward said, laying his head on Carl’s muscular chest. Carl ran his hand through the boy’s hair and nodded. When they’d been laying there a long time, Edward whispered, “Do you wish we were having sex? Not right now, I mean, but in general…. I know you’ve not made a big deal out of it….”

Carl sighed, and in his soft deep voice, whispered, “When you’re ready, I’m ready! But until then, I can wait….”

“I just don’t want you to get tired of waiting and decide to move on,” Edward said.

Carl laughed. “What I feel about you isn’t about sex. I can take care of myself for now, I’m a big boy,” he added with a wink. “But I haven’t gotten the feeling you’re ready.”

“To be honest, I’m not…. I want to be, I want to so badly I can’t even tell you! I miss the feeling so much, and I just … wish it had been you before,” Edwards said.

Carl kissed his forehead and pulled him into a firm embrace, the naked skin of their arms and legs rubbing together sensually, making their underwear strain to contain them. But they both slowly fell into a deep afternoon nap.

William drove the family’s car to the airport. Chase got Alex out of his seat and grabbed his diaper bag, which he handed to William. Then they all headed inside to wait. Inside, a strange man started their way. Dressed in robes and his head shaved, William thought he might have been some kind of religious nut, a Hare Krishna or something. But then the man spoke, and instinctively Chase shielded Alex and stepped behind William.

“I am here to warn you,” the man said insistently. “You must be very careful!”

“Listen, mister,” William began, but the man cut him off.

“William Jennings, Chase Abernathy? There is a grave danger ahead and you must be prepared!”

“How do you know our names?” William asked, eyes narrowing and a spell coming into his mind.

“THEY’VE been talking about you and your friends. We’re sworn to stop them, but they’re growing too powerful to be contained, and our numbers dwindle. Abraxos and the Order of….” Abruptly the man stopped speaking and his hands rose to his throat. When he collapsed, he was already dead, and William pushed Chase and the baby back and away, behind a pillar to provide some cover. He had no idea what had so instantly killed the man, but he wasn’t taking any chances.

“Are you okay?” he asked Chase and the boy nodded, even paler than usual. “Be alert!” William warned as he stepped back out and called for help as he knelt over the man. “HELP!”

Security soon arrived, but by then William had seen what he was looking for, a small dart in the back of the man’s neck. A poison dart was weirder than he’d expected!

Immediately, he called Xavier. “It’s William,” he said immediately. “We’re at the airport. Crazy guy approached us and was trying to talking to us, then he just died!”

“How?” Xavier said, and William couldn’t help but laugh nervously.

“Poison dart,” William said.

“Fuck me!” the man exclaimed. “Alright, are Steve and Sarah there yet?”

“They haven’t cleared the security yet, anyway,” William reported.

“I’ll phone Sebastian,” Xavier said. “Expect him momentarily….”

Shortly after he finished his conversation, the security staff turned to him and asked, “Okay, what’s going on?”

“My boyfriend and I were just waiting for his parents to take them home, and this nut-job comes up and starts talking about Armageddon. You know the deal. Then he suddenly collapses!”

The older of the two guards smirked, “Boyfriend? So he saw it all? Where is he?”

William pointed to where Chase stood, and the men went and spoke to him, indicating that William should wait so they could see if Chase verified his story. Then he was momentarily distracted by a voice calling, “William!”

William turned to see Sarah and Steve emerging from the crowd. “What happened?” Steve asked, and he briefly explained. “Where’s Chase?”

“Talking to security,” William said, pointing in his direction. But then he noticed Chase looked distressed, his exact emotion hard to pinpoint.

William started in his direction and a moment later heard the younger guard tell the older guard, “Frank, you’re an asshole, and that was uncalled for! Go help secure the body, and leave this to me!”

The older man, now clearly junior in his post to the young man, stormed off muttering something about his boss being a queer-loving metrosexual asshole, or something like that, as the younger guard put a tentative hand on Chase’s shoulder. “I’m sorry about that,” he said softly as William appeared at his side. Turning to William, he suggested, “If you’d like to make an official complaint, I’ll verify the details….”

“What happened?” William asked, looking carefully into Chase’s eyes.

The young guard flushed and said, “He said we should hold you guys as suspects and turn you over to Homeland, so that they’d take your baby into protective custody, since,” the man paused and coughed, clearly uncomfortable saying the word, “faggots like you shouldn’t be allowed around children.”

“Then yes, we’d like to make a formal complaint!” William said in a fury. In fact, he started looking around for the man with fire in his eyes, but he heard a distinct voice in his head say, ‘Don’t do it!’

His eyes immediately caught Sebastian pushing his way through the gathered crowd, dragging Steve and Sarah in his wake. Chase, seeing his parents, broke into tears as they embraced him, and he quietly explained what was happening. Meanwhile, Sebastian looked at the younger guard and said, “Do you need to take formal statements from my friends?”

“If they would make statements about their treatment by my colleague that would be much appreciated. I’ll just need contact information about the rest, as there are two cameras in this area, both of which should confirm their story.”

“Thank you,” Sebastian said, his smile sincere and causing a different kind of shiver in the man’s lower back. The whole group followed him to the security office, and while the boys wrote their accounts out, he checked the videos, which played out exactly like he expected.

When they were done, the young security officer, John Daniels, gave each of them his card and said, “Thank you, and I’m sorry again. I’ll be in touch, but call me if there is anything you need. And don’t be surprised if you get a call from the police or some Feds….”

“Thank you, Officer Daniels,” Sebastian said, herding them all out after Chase shook the man’s hand appreciatively. When they were alone he added, “Let’s get the hell out of here. Xavier, you take the car, and we’ll meet you at your place.”

The man nodded and took off, before Sebastian found a dark place in the garage and led them through a portal back to Xavier’s. “Glad to see you boys can make it a few weeks without getting into too much trouble,” Sarah said sarcastically as Steve and Sebastian carried the bags upstairs. “Goodness gracious, is it too much to ask,” she began, but just shook her head and wrapped her arms around the boys. “It’s good to be home,” she sighed. “Now give me that baby,” she smiled, taking Alex from his fathers, propping him on her own slightly extending belly and kissing him.

Sebastian and Steve returned from upstairs and, and the vampire asked, “Do you think this is related to the people who threatened Josh?”

“I think we have to assume,” William said. “This guy was trying to warn us. I think there are a couple of groups fighting, and we’re getting sucked in. He said the threat was from someone called Abraxos and the Order of something…. They killed him before he could finish so I think we can assume what he said was important.”

“I’m going to put this out over the ShadowNET, and see what information we can gather,” he announced, pulling out his phone and wandering off to make some calls. He first let James know what had happened in full detail, and James promised they’d head back to Xavier’s after they finished at the house they were currently touring. Then he called Richard and had him get on the computer and send out a world-wide alert for Abraxos and the Order. Last, he called Avery.

“Hello?” Avery said.

“Avery, it’s Sebastian. We have a situation,” he began, and recounted the whole story again.

“What can I do?” Avery asked.

“Make sure your deputy is ready at all times, in case we need you up here. This may be nothing, but it might be bad,” Sebastian said.

“I will,” Avery said. “Is Chase okay?”

“A little shaken up by the guard, but better now he’s home,” Sebastian said.

“I’m glad I wasn’t there,” Avery replied.

“Yes, well, I got there just in time, because William was going after the guy,” Sebastian said. “It wouldn’t do to make a big public scene at an airport….”

“But you can understand,” Avery said.

“Of course I can understand, Avery. But immediate gratification isn’t always the most effective way,” Sebastian said, trying to remain calm.

He could hear the smile in Avery’s voice as the man said, “You’re going to take care of it, aren’t you?”

“I had considered it,” Sebastian replied. “After he gets sacked, he might end up on the buffet line for some young vampires with bad impulse control….”

“Alright,” Avery said, sounding very satisfied. “Let me know if and when you need me.”

“Thank you. Bye,” Sebastian replied.

James was back when Sebastian returned, and his brother and Billy were in the dining room with Steve, talking shop.

“I think it’s a done deal,” Chase whispered with a smile.

“And I’ll be happy if it is,” Sarah announced. “It’s been so nice with Dave, having Steve available more. With a good team, Steve can do five times the work with less time away!”

“I thought it might work out all around,” Sebastian smiled. “Especially with that and all,” he motioned at her belly. “When is the due date?”

“Well, I doubt we’ll go to term, with triplets,” she said, “so I really think early late summer.”

“Wonderful! How’s the new house coming?” Sebastian asked.

“We tried our best not to worry about it while we were gone, but with the housing downturn we had no trouble getting a big crew working for us. I imagine we’ll get the renovations done in another month, and work has already started on the cottage,” she added with a glance at William and Chase.

“They’re young, but they need their space,” Sebastian whispered.

“It’s hard to let go, even a little,” Sarah said. “But with Alex, and the Bond, and all that, I couldn’t really object.” Sebastian nodded, and they chatted a bit longer before he went and sat down in James’s lap comfortably across from Chase and William. James had successfully taken their minds off the incident by telling a funny story from his football days.

They sat and talked for a long time until Steve emerged with his arms across the young men’s shoulders and said, “I guess they’ll do!”

There was a general applause and Xavier suggested, “Why don’t you all stay around and we’ll order dinner in?”