4 Death Unexpected

By lunch time the next day, the house was back in order and James and Sebastian were all clean from a morning’s lovemaking, so they hopped in the BMW and drove to James’s house to report on the party.

“Something’s wrong,” Sebastian said, stepping in front of James as they got out of the car. “I smell blood….”

Finding the door ajar, Sebastian entered the house first and saw Maureen’s feet sticking out of the living room in a pool of blood. He started to tell James not to look, but he heard a bang, followed by two more. He felt the trickle of blood from his own arm, a mere inconvenience to him. But he turned to find James bleeding on the porch, Phil standing dumbly with his pistol. With inhuman speed, Sebastian was at James’s side, cradling his head and watching the light in his eyes dimming.

“Sebastian,” James struggled to touch his face. “I … love….” The effort was too much, however, and his breathing was labored. Despite his years, Sebastian’s mind went numb, and he just rocked the boy in his arms, crying for help. He looked and Phil was gone, and he just cried out again. A neighbor had called for help, but it would be far too late. James was going to die.

A dim light continued to burn: the soul was there, but James could not give him any indication of his wishes. Sebastian yelled, “What do you want, James? I can stop this,” he cried, tears in his eyes. “I’m not ready…. Tell me what you want!” But James was fading and even in his mind there was no coherent picture. Laying the boy flat, Sebastian used a claw to slice his wrist, allowing the blood to trickle into James’s mouth, as the boy’s own blood flowed from his gunshot wounds onto the porch. At least Sebastian was spared having to drain James himself. He lay down next to James, whispering, “I’m so sorry. I just … can’t let you go!”

When the ambulance arrived, Sebastian pulled his arm away from James’s mouth and wrapped it around his chest, feeling the robust heart stop beating. Sebastian heard the medics talking—“We’ve got three gunshot victims, at least two dead! This one’s just a flesh wound….”

The younger one grabbed Sebastian, who wouldn’t let go of James. “Let him go,” the man said, “he’s gone!” Sebastian did let go, and they led him to the back of the ambulance, letting the police begin their work. As the medics bandaged his arm—another inconvenience as he could heal himself as soon as he was alone—he talked numbly to the police.

“We were coming to tell his mom about the big football team party at my house last night. We found the door open. I went inside and before I could warn him about his mom, we were shot from behind…. It was his father, I saw him holding the gun. His father hated that James was gay, and Maureen was divorcing him…. There was a hearing scheduled for tomorrow. James is dead,” he said, breaking down into tears. He needed to let them take him to the hospital because a very elaborate plan had to be put into motion quickly.

When James’s body was brought in, Sebastian convinced the doctors that James was still alive. Despite the evidence, Sebastian used his vast power to sustain the illusion of a miracle for police and doctors. It would be three days before James’s eyes would finally open, and until then Sebastian would have to stand guard.

As he sat by the hospital bed where James lay dead, he picked up his phone and called Richard in tears. “Richard?”

“Sebastian, what’s wrong?” the man asked in a panic. Sebastian heard Peter in the background.

“James is dead…. His father … shot his mother and ambushed us at the house! He’s dead, Richard!”

“Did you…?” Richard asked, nervous.

“I had to, Richard! I couldn’t let him go!” Sebastian cried.

“I understand…. I’m so sorry. We’re on our way,” Richard said, his voice stable and comforting.

“They all think he’s alive, so it won’t arouse suspicion when he … well, you know,” Sebastian explained.

“We’re on our way,” Richard said.

Twenty minutes later, after police asked Sebastian, Richard and Peter were admitted to the room. Peter immediately hugged Sebastian and whispered, “I’m so sorry! Are you okay?”

“Yeah, mine’s just a flesh-wound,” he said. “Who needs to be called? I just don’t know … with his mom dead and his father the murderer.”

“Let me take care of it,” Peter said, walking outside to make some calls: the coach, who could make sure the school people knew, and a couple of key guys on the team to spread the news.

When he called Chris, Steve was there. “Chris, put me on speaker!” Peter exclaimed.

“What’s going on?” Chris asked, doing as he was told.

“I’m at the hospital,” he said.

“Are you alright?” Chris asked immediately.

“Yes, no, I mean, it’s not about me…. Guys, James has been shot—it doesn’t look good—and his mom’s dead!” After a long silence, there came a sob he recognized as Chris.

Steve asked, “Sebastian?”

“Shot in the arm. He’s taken charge here,” Peter explained.

“We’ll be there in thirty,” Steve said, and Peter how to get to the room and what to tell the police guarding the room. Sebastian remained in the room as the boys came in to visit one at a time. Sebastian was quickly draining himself to maintain the appearance that James was alive, as he knew James wouldn’t want to abandon them when he was revivified.

***

Around midnight, Sebastian summoned Richard for a private conversation. “Richard, I need you to stay with him tonight. You know how to keep up the illusion; just don’t get distracted….”

“Sebastian, please don’t ask me to do that alone!” Richard begged.

“You are a big boy, and I trust you,” Sebastian said, putting a hand on his arm. “You’re the only one!”

“Why can’t you stay?” Richard asked.

Sebastian’s eyes burned like black fire on white fire: “I’m going hunting!”

Richard grabbed his arm. “Please, don’t….” But Sebastian’s face was etched with pent-up fury. He stormed out past James’s friends without a word. Peter ran after him.

“Where are you going?” Peter demanded.

Sebastian stopped, and turned, his face giving Peter a shock, Sebastian almost hissed, “He is still out there!”

“What can you do?” Peter asked.

“I’ve got power, money, influence…. There is nowhere under heaven he can hide from me!” Sebastian snarled.

Knowing what fueled the rage, Peter nodded, but added, “Don’t do anything that will drive a wedge between you and James. You’re all he’s got. His brother hasn’t come home in years, and I doubt he will now…. James’s too good, sometimes.”

Sebastian considered what he said and nodded, softening some. Then he walked out into the shadows and was gone. He transformed into a dark bird—he hated clichés so not bats—and soared gracefully through the town, sorting through scents, passively scanning for psychic anomalies. When he found Phil, he found it ironic, settling in front of the police station. Phil was in a holding cell.

 Sebastian walked through the front door, but all the desk officer saw was dark night. Sebastian, chanting an ancient Aramaic invisibility spell, made his way to the cell that held James’s father.

“Hello, Philip,” he said, snapping into view. “How are you?”

The man looked at him, at first hollow but then with a vicious smile. “I meant to kill you!”

“I know you did,” Sebastian added, “but that would have been difficult,” Sebastian said, transforming into a mist and stepping through the bars, appearing on the other side. “Tell me, Phil…. Why?”

With a sneer, the man spat, “He ruined my life, destroyed everything! You! If it weren’t for you….” Phil wanted to lunge, but he knew better.

“I just wanted to tell you that James is alive. He’ll live long after you’re gone,” Sebastian said, sitting on the empty bunk across from Phil. “Only, the pain you’ve caused him…. I’m just not sure what to do with you.”

“You won’t do anything,” Phil laughed, sounding none too sure of himself. “We’re in a police station!”

“Philip, in case you can’t tell, I am … above the law. I just walked through bars, after all!” Sebastian said with venom.

“My name is Phil,” the man spat like a petulant child.

“No, your name is Philip! Or how did she say it? Yes, Philip,” he repeated the name, mimicking Phil’s aunt Rita perfectly. “She did terrible things to you, didn’t she Philip? I could do those things, but you’d enjoy them coming from me, wouldn’t you? You’re son thinks I’m very beautiful!”

Phil closed his eyes and shook his head. Sebastian stood and walked over to the man. “Truth be told, I tire of this, Philip, so I’m going to give you two choices. First, you can start yelling for the detectives and sign a detailed confession to one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder tonight.”

 “Or,” the man asked with disdain.

 Sebastian grabbed his left hand hard, grabbing the proximal phalange of Phil’s pinkie finger between his thumb and forefinger and squeezing until it was crushed. Phil screamed a high-pitch scream. “They won’t hear! You can scream all night. Did you know that there are 27 bones in your hand? Option 2 is that I break each one of them, before offering you option 1 again.”

 “Detective,” he called, “Detective! I’m ready to talk….”

 The man, a big African American named Stevens, came in. “You’re ready to talk, Barton? Don’t waste my time!”

 “Yes, yes! I’ll tell you everything, I’ll sign, whatever…. Just get him out of here!” Phil yelled.

 “Him?” the detective asked, looking around.

 Phil saw he couldn’t see Sebastian and sighed. “Me…. Get me out of here!” The man took him to an interrogation room, and Sebastian followed, overseeing the whole process from the shadows, leaving only after the man signed. Sebastian walked the street for an hour, pacing, entirely unsatisfied. He turned toward campus and made his way to the frat house where Austin lived, knocking on the boy’s window.

A few minutes passed and he looked out, opening the window. Sebastian climbed in without asking, and the boy stood aside. “Hello, Austin,” he said. “I thought I’d pay you a house call,” he said, looking at the cute boy in his boxers without the slightest interest, almost with contempt.

Without any preliminaries, he went straight for the jugular, drinking hard and deep and taking a little too much. Austin certainly wouldn’t feel well for a few days, but the boy didn’t fail to get aroused.

As he was leaving, Sebastian looked at the young man’s sleeping roommate and suggested, “Why don’t you offer him your ass? I’m sure he’d like a piece.” Sebastian watched unseen as the undergrad walked over to his roommate naked and shook his shoulder.

“What?” the sleeping boy asked, before opening his eyes to find a boner in his face. “What the fuck, man?”

“Fuck my ass?” Austin asked.

“Get the fuck out of here, queermo,” he said, laughing a little at this strange joke, but Austin knelt down.

“Fuck me?” Austin reiterated, begging now.

“I’m not….” But looking at Austin, hairless with a fine ass, he thought, ‘Who cares?’ “If you ever tell anybody about this, I’ll kill you.”

“Why would I tell? It’s yours whenever you want,” Austin said, climbing into the boy’s bed.

Sebastian laughed and let himself out. “Frat boys,” he muttered.

Back at the hospital, he opened the door to James’s room and found Richard standing in the far corner of the room looking terrified. Sebastian’s eyes followed the man’s gaze to the tall figure standing next to the bed.

It looked at him and smiled brilliantly, “Hello, Hesed ben Nahor….”

“Don’t call me that! What are you doing here?” he asked, motioning for Richard to leave. “No one else enters, Richard!”

“I was sent,” the being smiled.

“Of course you were sent! You couldn’t act on your own if life depended on it! What the fuck are you doing here?!” Sebastian demanded furiously.

“He doesn’t answer to me, thank goodness, and certainly not to you,” the unruffled being smiled.

With disgust, Sebastian spat, “What is your charge?”

“I am to watch and report. Strange things stirring here it seems,” the man turned to him with a smile. “Is it true?” he asked, smelling the air with astonishment, eyes widening at whatever he was taking in.

Sebastian had no idea what he meant, but walked past him dismissively, “Just stay out of the way!”

“Don’t we always?” the creature asked with a smile.

 “Too true,” Sebastian responded with contempt. “What do they call you?”

“Many things, but I rather like Gamaliel,” it answered.

“Well, Gamaliel, if I can’t get rid of you,” Sebastian began.

“And you can’t,” Gamaliel smiled.

“… if I can’t get rid of you, tone down the fucking glow! It’ll scare the humans and it’s hurting my eyes,” Sebastian demanded, angrily.

Gamaliel chuckled and the room dimmed to an almost natural state. “Better?”

“Tolerable,” Sebastian grumbled.

“Why do you hate our kind so?” Gamaliel asked.

“Surely you’re kidding me!” Seeing the smiling, benign curiosity, he sighed. “For ages and eons, we’ve been damned, hunted, burned, killed, all in the name of what you stand for!”

“But not at our hands, not at the word of our Master,” Gamaliel answered him softly.

Nothing is done at your hands! You stand by, you watch, you report, but you do nothing! When my father turned me to the desert, where was your kind? Absorbed with your business? Singing your praises? Where were you this morning?” Sebastian yelled.

Gamaliel looked almost guilty as his smile wavered. “Truthfully? I was there this morning … waiting to do my part.”

Sebastian looked at him, waiting, and finally asked, “And that part is?” The man smiled and shook his head. “And that part is?”

“Sebastian,” the man said with a heartbreaking tenderness that told Sebastian that he did not want to hear what he was about to hear. Gamaliel began speaking an ancient language few besides Sebastian, in all the world, would have understood. A light brighter than Sebastian had ever seen filled the room: “Hesed, son of Nahor, I am Gamaliel, an attending angel serving the will of my Master! I am the angel appointed to lead righteous souls to their places in the highest heavens! I was sent to retrieve this young man this morning, but found that … quite impossible,” he said, the room fading again to near darkness.

Sebastian felt his heart seize up violently. He’d never heard that a vampire could have a heart attack, but surely it would feel like this. Likewise his stomach felt like it would collapse in on itself, and he bent over in agonizing sorrow. Wracked with tears, he felt the warm hand on his shoulder, but shook his head. “What have I done? I’ve damned a pure soul….”

Gamaliel laughed, a warm and soothing laugh. “You vampires! You are as bad as the humans…. Neither have ever understood your place! Silly boy, with your silly theologies!”

“I’m four thousand years old,” Sebastian retorted.

“Three thousand nine hundred seventy four years, three hundred and forty two days, twelve hours and seventeen minutes, give or take. But when you are as old as I am … everything seems young and new!” Gamaliel declared with a smile. “I was seated at His feet before the creation, my friend! And you—humans, vampires, all of you—who’s damned, who’s saved? Good, evil! You, Sebastian, you’ve done some terrible things. But like the humans, you vampires have the key at hand! You can change! You have changed, haven’t you? From the killing fields of Romania to holding a boy in your arms. Why, you didn’t even kill his father tonight! It is freedom of choice that makes the humans so valuable and so easily lost…. It’s the same with your kind, but you’ve forgotten it! For too long you were led by beasts who taught that there was no other way, that you serve no one. But here I am…. If you were damned, truly and irrevocably damned, what burns in your heart could not be! The poet … was wrong!”

“Why should I believe you?” Sebastian asked, his hostility tinged with hopefulness.

“Why shouldn’t you? Our nature is not so … flexible as yours,” Gamaliel replied, raising his eyebrows.

“I’ve met one of your kind before…. A real son of a bitch who called himself Gabriel,” Sebastian retorted.

Gamaliel laughed heartily, and even Sebastian couldn’t help but smile. “No wonder! My dear brother … is different. Not unlike yourself, actually! You see, eons ago, there was a disagreement in heaven. God proposed creating humankind, to whom our kind would bow. But not everyone understood why a creature of earth should be imprinted with the divine image. Now, most everyone knows how that story goes, a third of heaven falls, stricken and banished. When ‘Lucifer’ rose up against God, Michael and Gabriel ascended to first and second position, respectively. But Gabriel, oh Gabriel loved ‘Lucifer’! Think about how you feel for James, but between two pure spirits! But Gabriel’s devotion to God was absolute and, though it tore him in two, he himself locked the gates of Hell as Michael put down the rebellion!”

“I don’t know what to say,” Sebastian said, softly.

“Truly!” Gamaliel sighed, and after a longish pause, “Gabriel has never been the same…. He cannot love you like the rest of us, for his incredible loss, but he cannot hate you like they do, for his love of God.”

“How terrible,” Sebastian thought out loud.

“I feel I’m about to be recalled…. Watch over this one carefully, dear Hesed. He’s special! And the Master, oh he’s had his eye on you for a long time, son of Nahor. He was always fond of your cousin … the only man he ever called friend. But you…. Perhaps we shall meet again one day.” The man smiled and walked over to James’s bed, where he knelt down and kissed the boy on the head. Looking over his shoulder at Sebastian, he whispered, but loud enough to be heard, “Perhaps….” And then he was gone, as if he’d never been there.

“What have I done, James?” Sebastian whispered as he knelt by the bed and a warm breeze, bearing the smell of myrrh and roses, brushed over him. Sebastian cried on the cold hand he held in his own, almost tempted to pray.

After a long absence, Richard stuck his head in the door. “Is it gone?”

“Yes, Richard, he’s gone,” Sebastian laughed.

“Peter would like to come in,” Richard said. Sebastian nodded, and continued to hold James’s hand.

Peter entered and put a hand on his shoulder. “You find what you were looking for?” he asked.

“In fact, I did,” Sebastian said with a grim smile. “He confessed last night.”

“Oh?” Peter asked, arching his eyes with amusement.

“Seems a very scary little fairy visited him and hurt his hand,” James said with horrific humor.

Peter patted him on the shoulder and said, “I was worried you might kill him….”

“I know you were,” Sebastian said, seriously. “Truth be told, I was going to until I talked to you. Thank you.”

“That’s what I’m here for…. Is there anything you need? We’re all going to go get something to eat,” Peter offered

“No, I’m good. You guys go…. Don’t worry about us. I’ll call you if anything changes, and … I’m sure Richard will keep you up-to-date,” Sebastian said.

“Alright, then,” Peter said. “We’ll check in after practice tomorrow.”

“Thanks Peter…. Tell all the guys I said thanks.” That evening, Sebastian took a few more visits from concerned friends of James, some of whom were unaware of their relationship. The police updated him on what he already knew and brought the social worker in charge of James’s case.

She was a piece of work, and he couldn’t allow her to meddle. “I’ll be making medical and other decisions with regard to James Barton,” he said, bristling.

“To be frank, Family and Children’s Services will be making all decisions, and we don’t look kindly,” but he cut her off.

“To be frank,” he spat, “Family and Children’s Services can blow me!” But as the cop moved to restrain him, he put up a hand. With angry power he stated, “You serve me. Do you understand?” They both nodded, jaws slack and eyes distant. “Regarding James Barton, I am the only authority. There is none higher…. You will tell your superiors whatever they need to hear, but you will take no action, besides covering your inaction. Do you understand?” They nodded. “Good. You may go, madam. Officer, if you could stay a moment, my friend is feeling a bit hungry.” The man nodded and sat down. “Richard!”

Richard stepped into the room. “You’re hungry. The officer here has volunteered….” Richard looked at Sebastian, then moved behind the officer and gently feeding.

The day was spent watching and waiting. The key would be Tuesday, the third day, when almost all awaken. Steve and Peter and Chris were back Monday night, but Tuesday morning, Sebastian was alone, with Richard outside standing guard. Breathless, Sebastian held James’s hand constantly throughout the day, and around two in the afternoon, he felt a squeeze, followed by a sharp gasp.

“James, it’s Sebastian!  Listen to the sound of my voice,” he whispered in the boy’s ear. “Listen to the sound of my voice, my love. I know it’s painful but focus on my voice and nothing but my voice.” Softly, Sebastian began to sing in his ear, and the hand relaxed in his.

“Sebastian, I’m cold,” James whispered. “What happened? Where am I?”

“James, when we got to your house, we were shot. Your mother was shot. Your father killed her….” James grabbed him weakly and began to cry. “Baby, I’m sorry, but … he killed you too.”

Swallowing his tears, James asked, confused, “What do you mean? I’m here. Did … they bring me back?”

Now Sebastian began to cry, clutching his hands, “No, baby, I mean, you were dying in my arms and … I couldn’t let you go. I couldn’t lose you, not … not now!”

James’s tears didn’t stop, but he clutched on to Sebastian. “We … didn’t have enough time, Sebastian! In your place, I would have done the same thing…. If I could have, I would have asked you to do it.”

Sebastian hugged him, crying, and silently looked to the sky. “Thank you, God!”

Sebastian lay beside James to hold him, letting Richard know telepathically that James was up, and they talked a long time. James cried over his mother, and Sebastian explained about his father, including what he had done.

“I’m glad you didn’t kill him,” James whispered. “But I would have understood if you had.”

“God, I love you,” Sebastian said with a smile.

“You better,” James smiled weakly, his head on Sebastian’s shoulder, “‘cause now you’re stuck with me for a long time!” Sebastian squeezed him tight, before he went back to sleep. When his friends came back by that evening, he was awake and able to talk.

“Hey, guys,” he said, sitting up in bed. As the boy’s hugged James, Sebastian squeezed his hand tight. Sebastian had warned him that he’d squeeze his hand almost painfully to distract him long enough to control himself. It worked, but James noticed each of their scents in a new way. Each aroused him in its own way. Peter’s was musky and manly, while Steve’s was spicy, but Chris’ was … wow. Sweet, deep and rich, with a hint of something beautifully exotic. Sebastian smiled and unassumingly moved so that the others wouldn’t notice James’s bulge.

“You gave us all quite a scare, buddy,” Peter said. “Coach is freaking out to find a replacement ‘til you get back….”

James laughed weakly, “Thanks you guys! Sebastian said you’ve been here whenever you could. You’re good friends … the best!” They talked and laughed some, and they all hugged James goodbye.

When they were gone, James asked, “Does it get easier?”

“It gets easier not to eat your friends, yeah,” Sebastian laughed, “but it’s harder to control the ‘bodily’ reaction.” He slipped his hand beneath the sheet and wrapped his hands around James’s rock hard cock. Then he decided better of it and just gave him a quick blow job.

When Sebastian kissed him after, James said, “Mmmm, tastes different,” tasting himself in Sebastian’s mouth.

“You’ll taste a lot more subtle flavors. Many vampires don’t eat because of it. Good food tastes so much better, but you’ll taste the least imperfection,” Sebastian explained.

“Speaking of which,” James said, looking embarrassed and a little scared, “I’m feeling a little … hungry.”

Sebastian hopped up on the bed and straddled his waist. “For now, until I can teach you to control yourself when feeding, I’m going to let you feed on my blood,” Sebastian said.

“Will that hurt you?” James asked, concerned.

“It would be inconvenient if you took far too much, but you aren’t strong enough to overpower me … so no. I’ll simply feed more as long as is necessary. Vampires do this more often than you might imagine. It feels as good to us as it does to you. It is the deepest form of intimacy we share, and leads to a sharing of special gifts, so it’s absolutely crucial that you not do this with just anyone,” he said.

“I won’t,” James said, looking hurt.

“I know, but it’s part of the lesson. Now,” Sebastian said, putting a claw to his neck and drawing just a little blood, “just do what comes natural.” James began to suckle gently, but soon more urgently, until his fangs came out for the first time. James tensed up at the pain, and his attempts to bite were hesitant. Sebastian whispered, “Just shove them in like … we were in bed, all the way, love.” James did as he was told, getting off on the whimper that matched the shiver rocking Sebastian’s body.

Sebastian fingered James’s hair, as he was uncontrollably humped James’s abs. James soon felt him come in his pants, but he kept drinking and drinking. When he closed his eyes, James could see Sebastian in the arid deserts, in distant places and times, smelling what he smelled and tasting what he tasted. He was drifting in Sebastian’s reality. “James, listen to me,” he heard resounding in the sky. “Listen to me! You have to stop. James, that’s enough!” His eyes snapped open and he withdrew his fangs quickly.

“I’m so, so sorry,” James said, almost in tears. “I was so lost in you,” he said.

“That’s why you’re doing this with me,” Sebastian said with a smile. “It is quite impossible for you to kill me!”

“Did it … hurt…?” James asked.

“It always hurts, baby, but it was also … spectacular! I could feel myself coursing through you! Wait ‘til you get to do it while we’re together. Mmmm….” James smiled and kissed him. Then Sebastian declared, “Now, you need to rest! With my blood, you’ll heal fast, now. You might also develop a few abilities. We’ll go home tomorrow!”

“Home….” James’s green eyes got teary.

Sebastian touched James’s face and looked into his eyes. “Our home…. I’m sorry, but we’ll make a new home together.”

James wrapped his arms around Sebastian and soon drifted off into a dark, death-like sleep. When the night nurse came in to check on James, Sebastian caught her eyes with his and had her stand by the bed. He drank lightly from her wrist to refresh himself, trying to ignore her orgasmic bliss: he was even less interested in his female donors than most of the males. But this was room service, and the woman wasn’t gross, so one couldn’t be too picky.